Artist's Painting Of USS Tulsa To Sail With Ship

Friday, February 10th 2017, 7:42 pm

Saturday, the USS Tulsa will be christened in Mobile, Alabama. Friday, we saw the first pictures of the ship that's now ready to sail.

It has Tulsa on the stern and "16" on the bow - the Tulsa's designation in a new class of Navy ships called "littoral combat ships."

When it sails, a painting of the USS Tulsa will be on-board; the painting itself comes from Tulsa.

2/3/2017 Related Story: Several Tulsans To Attend Christening Of USS Tulsa

The studio of artist Jay O'Melia is filled with his imagination. He's an accomplished sculptor, with recognizable work all over town - and his paintings, especially of the oil patch, hang in many of Tulsa's corporate offices.

But one of his new paintings is going on-board the USS Tulsa. He painted several versions after visiting the shipyard and looking at lots of pictures.

“That baby, when it gets going, it is moving,” he said.

Time spent mainly to get the rush of the water and the movement of the ship the way he wanted.

"It started coming, I wanted to get the water, to see how that baby was ripping thru the water and I think I caught the motion pretty good," O’Melia said.

He got the new commission when ship sponsor Kathy Taylor realized that he was a Navy veteran.

"I was a dry land sailor. I never served aboard a ship, never as a crew. I drew pictures. I was classified, drew classified training manuals,” he said.

Now, after studying the Tulsa, he's impressed with the speed and ability, and grateful that his work will go aboard.

O'Melia said, "I want to see this thing take off.”

O'Melia's painting will be given to the skipper of the USS Tulsa Friday night. The christening is Saturday morning.