The discipline intrinsic to portrait painting has been congenial to Neil. His first oil paintings were portraits, and an early one like that of journalist Brian Toohey, acquired by the Australian National Portrait Collection, already makes clear his ability to draw on modern sources while at the same time establishing a range of references to great painting of the past. The subjects are accurately depicted but at the same time they go well beyond the possibilities of photography in their painterly qualities and subtly calculated compositions. Seen in the original these portraits have commanding presence, catching with rare precision the character of their subjects. He has been three times a finalist in Australia’s Moran prize for portraiture, twice selected in the Salon des Refuses exhibition following the Archibald Prize, and in 2012 won the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award with a portrait of his son Claudio. His work is in public and private collections in Australia, Italy, Britain and the USA.