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Art Saves • by Beth Nicholls

Beth NichollsFor the past ten years I have been so lucky to have a career which has taken me all over the world – to over 50 countries on every continent – but no matter where I went, when I was ‘on business’ it always felt like there was something else tugging at my attention. Looking back now I see that I was searching out beauty wherever I went – whether that meant photographing children in Nepal, sketching seals on icebergs in Antarctica, exploring handmade paper workshops in Japan or learning about flower styling in Thailand. I would often go early, and stay on after my colleagues had flown home, spending time alone seeking out creative inspiration.

Recently, sorting through the thousands of photographs, postcards and finds I have collected on my travels over the years, I realised something. What I thought was just a deep love of adventure and curiosity about other cultures and people, was also a decade-long creative-inspiration-gathering trip. The rose quartz from the Namibian desert, the pebbles from a Greek beach, the prayer flags from Bhutan, the ribbon from Paris – it is all there waiting to be translated into art.

Over time I started to realise there was some strange power that seemed to envelop me when I did anything creative, whether that be making a book or welding steel. But I was so focused on my career in the corporate world, and later with global charity UNICEF (which I found very rewarding), that I never stopped to consider what it was. I never paused to think whether there was a way of harnessing that power and letting it spill over into my every day.

That is until I went on my first art retreat, and everything changed.

I realised it was like I had been living my life on a train, always travelling, going somewhere, getting flashes of beauty as the countryside raced past. But the day I went to my first art retreat was the day that train pulled into a station and I got off. I started to explore the world beyond with bare feet and open eyes, right in amongst it, instead of peering at it through the train window. Suddenly I could smell the grass, hear the birds, feel the dew between my toes. A whole new world opened up to me. And it was in glorious technicolour.

This past year has probably been the most transformational of my whole life. I have allowed myself to say ‘I am an artist’, and established a new business running art retreats and e-courses to give others the tools and inspiration to do what they love, for life.

Now I truly am doing what I love. I have art to thank for that, and will be eternally grateful.

To learn more about Beth Nicholls, visit


Congratulations on the journey and for inspiring so many others to find their passion and live authentically! I have so doubt your retreat will be LIFE changing and awe-inspiring for all who attend. Congratulations on all your success Ms. Beth! xo

Beth, lovely story. I would LOVE to come by for a cup of tea and look through all your photographs and wonderful. I cant wait to attend your Do What You Love Art Retreat in May.

oh beth...this is such a wonderful peek into the journey that brought you where you are! you are an amazing person AND artist. so lovely to read your ART SAVES story here!

Thank you so much for sharing my story here Jenny

Beth, you and I both were reflecting there at our AAJ table. I learned to embrace myself as an artist at that event as well. I was impressed by you at that table as you literally spread your "wings" all over the place, haha. (as in paint, paper, ribbon, brushes, etc. etc.) And now watching you take off is so so wonderful! I am looking forward to the flight little birdie!


I love hearing stories about how art just clicked for people. That is so how it should be! So glad you are sharing your creativity and savvy skills with everyone (including me!).
Love, Jess

wow beth, i love how you say your travels were a “decade-long creative-inspiration-gathering trip”. i feel like that puts my LIFE into perspective, always feeling that i'm on the move, but never quite arriving, somehow; a wanderer. your story gives me hope that one day, my life too will take on a larger meaning and the loose pieces will fit together!!! thank you for sharing yourself...:) jan

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