This lesson was inspired by one of the most memorable afternoons of my life. When I was in the NAVY, my ship pulled into port in the U.S. Virgin Islands. While out on liberty, I went snorkeling in the coral reefs off of the island of St. John. I spent hours surrounded by tropical fish, and exposing my back to the worst sun burn I have ever had...but it was totally worth it! The fish I was most fascinated with were the huge barracuda that was stalking me, and the hundreds of butterflyfish feeding off the coral.
I thought that butterflyfish, with their amazing array of colors and patterns would make excellent subjects for tempera paintings. Butterflyfish can be found on reefs throughout the world. There are about 114 species of butterflyfish. They have thin, disk-shaped bodies that closely resemble their cousins, the angelfish. They spend their days tirelessly pecking at coral and rock formations with their long, thin snouts in search of coral polyps, worms, and other small invertebrates.