United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

Featured art and artist for JRRD supplemental issues in 2006

James Oscar Nelson's painting "Let He Who Knows Not How To Pray Go To Sea" will be featured on the cover of all 2006 Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (JRRD) special supplements. This oil painting on canvas was the bronze-place finisher in the Military Combat Experience category of the 2005 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.

The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival culminates a yearlong fine arts competition that is open to all veterans who receive care at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. Visual art entries are divided into 47 categories, including painting, drawing, sculpting, carving, knitting, and photography. JRRD cover art is selected from the Special Recognition and Military Combat Experience categories, which reflect VA's commitment to physically and emotionally healing veterans.

"This painting is of the experience and feelings I have had in my mind and heart for 60 some years," said Jim, a Navy World War II veteran. "I know that an artist can do his best work when he has that love or experience of the subject he paints."

James O. Nelson and painting

James Oscar Nelson and his art

"Let He Who Knows Not How To Pray Go To Sea" illustrates Jim's real-life experience. While stationed on the Landing Ship Tank (LST) 70 off the coast of Okinawa, Jim and his fellow shipmates spent one terrifying night battling a typhoon.

"The typhoon just trashed this ship. I, like the rest of the men on Old LST 70 and the Air Force men we were taking to occupy Japan, thought we were going to die," said Jim of that night. "A shipmate gave me a song with God in it. As I read the song, I found comfort and was no longer afraid."

Jim assembled newspapers for the St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press for 43 years. He has served as the president of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Mailers Union and president of the St. Paul Employee Club. Currently, he is the secretary of the WWII LST 70 Association and a volunteer companion for chemically dependant seniors. Jim and his wife Donna of 25 years have 12 children, 21 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.

Browse JRRD articles by topic