painting by author


The Path Towards Mastery

Michael Ken
2 min readMar 22, 2019


This series cover seven attributes of artistic expression inspired by Michelangelo’s approach to creation. Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564) was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.

Long before setting out on the journey towards mastery, you need a clear vision of what it is you want to create. Vision is the ability to see, feel, or know the essence of the end result you are trying to achieve. This vision is more conceptual than methodological, more feeling than planning, and more about what you wish to express than how you will express it. Vision is full of vigorous conviction. It is charged with logic and emotion; intention and inspiration.

Vision is the compass used to navigate your journey; the lighthouse used to guide you towards the achievement of your goal. While you might not know what lies ahead or where the destination ultimately lies, vision gives you a clear direction in which to move.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.


There are times when you are too close to a situation to be able to effectively navigate towards the desired destination. During these times, it is important to have a separate, distant point to use to find your way. Just as a star is high in the heavens and not something blocked by our immediate environment, a marker that remains unclouded from judgment and subjective interpretation is an important tool to help you stay the course. Vision is your North Star.

It is said that before Michelangelo ever started working on a sculpture, he spent time at the quarry examining blocks of marble, carefully studying their character, looking for flaws that could be shed, strengths that could be exploited, and changes in the formation of the marble. All of these things determined the potentiality of the size, shape, position, and quality of the final piece crafted by the artist.

Vision is looking at a slab of marble, a blank canvas, a white sheet of paper and seeing the angel trapped inside. Pick up the chisel, brush, or pen and skillfully set her free.



Michael Ken

My journal about life in the woods. Visit to see my complete journal, photographs, and articles.