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What do Galaxy Cat Murals & Novels in Verse have in common? Jumping in.

If that makes no sense, stay with me a minute...

My youngest son and I talked about painting a cat mural for his room. He has had a HUGE interest in cats for years now. I want to get one for him, but for reasons I won't get into right now, that hasn't been able to happen. So, we thought a larger-than-life cat painting might help scratch the itch! Then he had the super-fun idea for a galaxy background.

Cool, but I’ve never painted a galaxy before. Seems like there would be a lot of blending, which can be hard to do with latex paints. But okay. And the whole cat thing. I was not sure of what to do... cute cartoon cat? Realistic? We wanted an orangeish one. "Sunset colors" were mentioned. That's about all we had figured out.

I knew I had a couple of half days coming up that my school was on Spring Break but my kids were not, so the weekend before that, we got some paints, taped the wall, made some sketches, and took some measurements.

Then, that Monday, after coffee, breakfast, making lunches, etc., I jumped right in. And I had a blast! I mean it. I loved making this. It felt... right.

Morning of #1: Galaxy wall

This went more quickly and smoothly than I was afraid would be the case. I used the darkest color first, painting the entire wall. Then I blended in the lighter colors. I used a mini-roller for most of it, then also a three-inch brush for the lighter colors and to blend the edges.

Morning of Day #2: Stars and then Galaxy Cat's giant head

The stars were easy-peasy, but the cat? This, I was nervous about. I found some reference pictures to guide me, referred to my sketches, and... jumped right in. I used one color at a time, filling in where I thought it should go... then of course added more in. I liked leaving the dark sky color around the edges and for the darkest shadows.

Afternoon of Day #2: Cat's tail

Similar to the head, but I didn't have quite as clear reference material to work from, so again, I kind of just went for it.

After school of Day #2: a very happy cat-loving nine year old! Yay!

So, back to my original question... something about a mural and a verse novel? Well...

I had thought about writing a middle grade novel in verse for quite a while. Wondered if I could really do it. I read verse novels. Wrote some poems. Read about novel writing. Outlined. Took notes. Felt completely overwhelmed. If I couldn't figure out the entire outline, did it make sense to write any more poems for this idea? How could I make them all work together, if I don't know the entire big picture yet? So, I stopped. Until... I read more. I participated in a webinar by K.A. Holt which was really insightful. And then I heard from a wonderful picture book writing critique partner who shared that she started a novel in verse and had written 1200 words so far. And I was inspired. I remembered, yes! To be a writer, you have to... you guessed it... write words. So...

I jumped back in. I sifted through the poems I had written. Then wrote more poems. I have NOT finished this thing, no where near in fact, BUT I’m on my way. It's something I'm working on. And it feels...


I think that sometimes you just have to jump in and hope to learn enough through the process to keep you afloat.

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