O'Connell's process for beginning a commissioned work starts with an interview with the client(s) to develop an understanding of the personality and essence of the subject they would like me to capture. The artist will use this information to create the appropriate tone and level of formality of the piece. Next, she develops and seeks alignment on the composition, selection of attire, setting, lighting and size of the work. The artist prefers to communicate throughout the process to ensure the outcome is in line with what the clients have envisioned for the piece. The painting can be done either from life or by the aid of high quality photographs. Whenever possible, she prefers to meet with the subject in their intended setting, so she can take an extensive collection of photographs from which to draw from during the process.