A Creative Life Is A Happy Life

This week marks the 5th week since the lockdown in the UK on the 20th March and you can catch our 5th Balcony Concert at the bottom of this post. It has been great to see how my friends and inspirational sources have taken on these turbulent times and turn to creativity to stay positive and stay afloat financially. This week I have interviewed my friend and colleague Michael V. Jones, who has taken up inks instead of arpeggios to release his imagination and try to build a business.

Michael and Me In The Fire Of Olympus

I have worked with Michael on two different projects, ‘The Fire of Olympus’ with Radius Opera and ‘Christmas Elf’ with Northern Opera. He is a delight on and off stage and this week I received a special gift from him in the post! An intricate ink painting of one of my favourite streets in Greenwich! I love this street as it leads to the Historic Greenwich Market – a pleasant place to visit at the weekend – something to look forward to in a post-Covid19 World. I have immediately ordered a frame and I cannot wait to hang this ‘one of a kind’ piece in my music studio.

It was such a delight to connect with Michael virtually and I really enjoyed learning and discussing his process and I thought I would share it with you on my blog.

When did you first start creating these fantastic drawings?

Well I took GCSE and A Level Art in School, and before going to Music college to pursue Opera I had every intention to pursue an Art career, however music and singing won in the end and I haven’t painted seriously for about 10 years. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown I’ve had all my singing and teaching work postponed and so have had much more time on my hands. I started painting again a couple of weeks ago and have been pleasantly surprised at the response to my work.

What medium do you use to create these one of a kind pieces?

I mainly use Black Indian Ink and paint it on watercolour paper, using water to vary the tone.

How long do they take you to make?

It completely varies, but on average about 6 hours for an A4 piece and 10 hours for A3.

Do you listen to music whilst you are drawing?

I actually listen to audiobooks, usually something I’ve already read so I can ‘zone-out’ and get into the artwork. For your piece I was listening to Circe by Madeline Miller.

What is your personal experience of the Lockdown?

At first it was a massive adjustment as I’m used to working 6 days of the week with various teaching and singing jobs, so trying to find things to do with that massive amount of time was hard at first. Finding and using Art as a creative outlet has been a godsend, I actually feel calmer than I usually do!

Have you got any coping mechanisms to share?

Finding little tasks and completing them, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, really helps me. The feeling of having finished a job really makes me feel better. Baking has also helped.

Is this something you have always been interested in, or is this a newly acquired skill?

I’ve always been quite good at drawing and painting, however experimenting and using solely ink to create the effect is new and is definitely something I want to continue to pursue.

Have you found a platform, where people can see and purchase your art to help to get you through the Lockdown?

I’ve actually sold most of my work through social media. On Facebook I have an MVJones – Art page detailing prices and works that I’ve already sold, and on Instagram I also have an MVJones – Art page. I’m in the process of setting up a website for my art separate from my singing one, so watch this space! My email is m​ vjonesart@gmail.com​ for all art related queries.


Is there anything else you would like to mention?

As I mentioned before I’m also an opera singer, so please feel free to visit my website www.michaelvincentjones.com​ to see what else I can do 🙂

I wish Michael the best of luck with this new venture! I miss singing and performing with him and all my other colleagues. But in the meantime, here is our 5th Balcony Concert where we performed a musical cocktail featuring a little bit of Musical Theatre with a sprinkle of Rachmaninov and Dvorak.

Here’s our program:

Dream Valley (Roger Quilter)

I Dreamed A Dream (Claude-Michel Schönberg, Les Miserables)

Home (Maury Yeston, Phantom)

Сирень, Lilacs (Rachmaninov)

они отвечали,They Answered (Rachmaninov)

Pisen Rusalky O Mesiku, Song to the Moon (Dvořák, Rusalka)

Non ti Scordar di Me

47 thoughts on “A Creative Life Is A Happy Life

    1. Grazie mille! I am glad that your enjoyed reading this interview with Michael. I hope that the restrictions loosen for you and yours over the coming weeks. Stay safe and healthy!

      Best Wishes

  1. That was a wonderful balcony concert. I listened to it while I answered comments. You two are such a cute couple. I applaud Michael for his efforts during the lockdown. It’s so hard on performers. I really like his pen and inks and the quick video is very cool. I’m working on another bloody awful parody. I wrote the chorus in Italian and I’ve about killed myself singing it. I think the performers of the song I’m parodying are aliens and don’t have to breathe while they sing. I’m not going to give away any more than that.

    1. Hello Timothy, that is lovely that you listened whilst blogging! Thank you for joining us in our home. I think Michael is using his creativity in an exciting way, and I agree that the inks are a beautiful medium. Haha – finding the right places to breathe is always a challenge, keep exploring and I look forward to listening to your parody.

      Best Wishes

      1. Hi Charlotte. I’m working on the video, so hopefully I can post it this weekend. Have a great week.

    1. Hello Annette, thank you for your heavenly comment your words are so generous and kind. We hope to continue to make music whilst our friends (new and old) are staying inside.

      Best Wishes

    1. I couldn’t agree more Cindy, if we can each offer a little bit of kindness towards others it will make our shared situation easier and more tolerable.

      Best Wishes

  2. Très intéressant! Bonne chance à ton ami ! En France, avec le confinement, tout est saturé, tout le monde deviens artiste hihihihihi – Moi je mets en place une collection de produits dérivés de mes création, un e-book avec mon Phénix et tu connais mon troisième projet. Le concert était super Vendredi !J’espère que les gens continueront à vous suivre après, Toi et George dans les salles ! Meilleurs pensées mon amie !!!

    1. Bonjour Pascal, merci de partager ton avis sur la situation ! Hehe – Je suppose que c’est agréable que les gens se tournent vers les arts pour libérer le stress et trouver du plaisir. Tes projets sonnent bien ! Je tu souhaites bonne chance avec eux. Les doigts croisés, nous pourrons bientôt jouer dans les salles.

      Best Wishes

    1. Thank you for joining us over the past five weeks Gill, we really appreciate your support! Hopefully we will see you soon.

      Best Wishes

  3. You sure don’t need me to tell you what an outstanding woman you are. Look at your career, your fiancee, friends sending amazing gifts, neighbors applauding and friends leaving comments!! To be honest, Charlotte, I’ve run out adjectives to say how much I admire you.

    1. Oh wow, your comment has blown me away GP! Thank you for being such a kind and supportive friend. I am lucky that we have been able to meet online. I will continue to sing for you and I look forward to learning so much from your blog each week!

      Best Wishes

    1. Thank you, John, I found it so interesting to learn how Michael has been using his new found time. I look forward to sharing our 6th concert with you next week.

      Best Wishes

  4. Charlotte, I was thrilled to hear the Song to the Moon – made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I hoped I had posted a message on your Facebook page on Friday to say so but not sure it worked. I loved the Ronnie aria too and the other songs.

    1. Hello Hilary, I am so glad that you enjoyed the Rusalka’s Song to the Moon. It is such a romantic and moving aria. Thank you for the request! I will try to sing Danny Boy as well over the coming weeks.
      I will keep an eye out for the Facebook comment and let you know.

      Best Wishes

    1. Hello Suzanne, we are glad that you enjoyed this week’s concert, I appreciate you listening,

      Best Wishes

    1. We are very lucky that our neighbours are so receptive to our performances. I am glad that they are still enjoying them. Thank you for listening!

      Best Wishes

  5. Charlotte, I have enjoyed reading your interview of Michael Jones, and have bookmarked his site. Your balcony concert was a pleasure to listen to, and I admire how you, George and Michael are coping and adapting your many talents to life’s current changes. Blessings to all of you! 🙂

    1. Thank you for bookmarking his site, that is so supportive of you! I have enjoyed looking at his drawings of significant locations in Manchester as I grew up nearby. Thank you for listening, your support is helping me to stay positive and navigate these strange times. I hope that you, your family and the farm are staying strong and healthy.

      Best Wishes

      1. I will always be here to support you. Stay positive, and you will have no trouble navigating these rough seas. I think life will be different for everyone, a “new” normal, when this is all over, but I know you will find a way to shine and bring happiness to others wherever life takes you.

        We are all doing well here. 🙂

    1. Hello Gwen, that is so fun that your listened to our concert whilst you were catching up on your emails. I will get practising ready for you to tune in later this week.

      Best Wishes

  6. Sending lots of love and support as always!!!!! Someday I’d love to fly across the ocean and see you in concert. Until then, loving the videos. Stay safe and stay healthy.
    p.s. – the writing is coming along great. Almost done with book 2!

    1. Thank you for your support and love Michael, it is greatly appreciated! I have downloaded book one on amazon and I am excited to start reading it soon. So keep writing book 2 as I will be eager to know what happens!

      Best Wishes

    1. Hello Devin, thank you for kind wishes. I am trying to use this time to stay productive and use music to stay positive. I hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy and find enjoyable ways to spend your time indoors.

      Best Wishes

  7. I love to watch people do sketching. This reminds me of sitting next to a person on one flight and she pulled out her drawing book and did sketching . Fascinating.

    1. Oh wow, that must have been really entertaining to watch the images become captured on the page from her imagination. It is a spelling binding process to watch. It is much nicer than watching me note bash and learn pitches 🤣 haha

      Best Wishes

  8. You are so inspiring. I tried to make something inspirational piano piece but I don’t know how it sounds to a music professional since I don’t know anyone like you. Anyways, thank you for sharing all your vids — as just so happens I was floored by your Widmung, Schumann video that I hadn’t seen yet, David.

  9. I tried three times to post a comment here yesterday and none would be accepted! Fingers crossed I can comment tonight.
    Another fabulous concert, Charlotte and George; I love the programme you chose! Best wishes to Michael in his new venture.

  10. Finally, The gentleman in the courtyard gets the lady in the balcony!

    Kidding aside, another performance with increasing stage presences made by both of you.

  11. Beautiful article!

    It is good to get these interviews down while people are alive. In this case there are probably many more years left to live. But if you got some old people in your life that have done things that are remarkable get some of that oral history down while there is still time.

    A while back I met a guy on eBay that had a noteworthy background in film. He said he was old and getting rid of his film collection he had amassed over the past 70 years. I had solicited him to record some oral history for me and possibly send me some photos to put up at the Internet Archive of which I am a volunteer thereof. I told him the same thing I am telling you here.
    Boom…one day you don’t wakeup…and all that history is gone forever.

    He wrote me back some time later and said it is too late to do any of that, the stroke took care of it.

    Whether young or old, if you or someone else has something noteworthy to archive, get it down while you can because boom…one day you don’t wakeup…and all that history is gone forever.

    You don’t have to make a big deal over it. Here is a short oral history I made of Dick Morriale and his recollections of Nesta Kerin Crain, one of the earliest proponents of using gongs for sound therapy in the USA. I was also doing a film on Dick , then the virus broke out and we may never finish the film.


    The oral history I did above was a little bit of a pain to do. Dick kept going off topic, so what is shown here is actually 14 recordings edited down to 1. Maybe you will have an easier time and your subject can stay on topic. But being an ADD myself, I have no right to chew anyone out for not staying on topic.

    Get a simple usb digital recorder and start recording some of this stuff. You go to a presentation or lecture, you are already there, might as well record and archive it. Go home, plug in the usb recorder and upload. Could not be easier. If you need sound editing software, get free Audacity.

  12. just watched your balcony concert and I have to say it was excellent. You have a beautiful voice and George is a great pianist. Your Mary Poppins moment couldn’t have been better if you ha rehearsed it!
    Well done,

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