Conservation art

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Nolin Godwin stood back and cherished the moment.

Godwin, a rising sixth grader at Earnest Ward Middle School, teamed up with conservationist and artist Dr. Guy Harvey on June 24-25 at SeaWorld to help paint a mural at the world-famous park in Orlando, Fla.

Harvey and his foundation, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, have a five-year partnership with SeaWorld Entertainment. He completed a mural on sharks last year.

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Godwin helped Harvey paint tuna and the Mako shark on a mural at the park.

“It was; I really don’t know what to say,” Godwin said about the experience. “I was just flat out excited. It was such a big opportunity. I never did think about it until afterward.

“That was pretty cool that I got to paint with him on a mural,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Godwin has come in contact with Harvey.

While on a vacation in the Grand Cayman three years ago, Godwin, along with his parents, Gordon and JoLynn, met with Harvey. The pair became fast friends as both share a desire for ocean conservation.

Some time after meeting Harvey, Godwin had a surprise for the well-known artist in the form of a $1,500 check for his foundation. Godwin sold some of his paintings and used the money he raised to give back to the foundation.

“It just started when we met in 2014,” Godwin said. “I met him and showed him my drawings. He asked me if I could really help him. He gave me some tips.

“He (Harvey) actually drew a shark and taught me how to draw it curved,” he said. “When I got back to our apartment, I started drawing curved sharks. It came natural to me. He was giving me a lot of tips and pointers and helped me.”

Godwin said Harvey gave him a lot of tips while in Orlando.

Gordon said his son and Harvey are pretty close. In fact, in April, a Mako shark was named after Godwin.

“You can track Nolin the Mako shark on his website,” Gordon said. “That’s how all of this came together. That’s how SeaWorld knew about Nolin. He just invited Nolin (through email) to come paint with him.

“We then made that trip so that he could do that,” he said.

Nolin painted with Harvey from 9 a.m. until noon for two days.

JoLynn said when they got there the first day, Harvey put her son right to work and let him paint on his own.

“He kept telling people that he earned this,” she said about Harvey. “He (Nolin) earned it by earning money. Harvey talked about his hard work and love of the ocean. He worked really hard, and did everything he was supposed to do.

“We thought as his parents that that was very complimentary,” she said.

At one point while at SeaWorld, Nolin was given the reigns on one of the sharks on the mural.

Gordon said it floored both JoLynn and himself at how encouraging Harvey was to Nolin.

“What was amazing is that as accomplished as he is, most people would kill for lessons with him,” Gordon said. “He would get over there and coach Nolin, and then turn around and say, ‘He doesn’t need my help.’

“He was really about promoting Nolin,” he said.

Nolin said he’s proud of the opportunity to have worked on the sharks with Harvey.

“They’re kind of fun to paint,” he said.