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White Sands Palette

This White Sands Palette features an array of muted pastels inspired by the miles of white sand dunes in White Sands National Park, New Mexico. Look closely and you’ll find a total absence of actual white.

In college, I had a painting professor who would not allow us to use white paint on the canvas. She said that in nature, everything that looks white is actually made up of other colors. The same is true of black. The job of the artist is to find the real color that your eye reads as white.

I think of her every time we visit White Sands, New Mexico. Once you get into the national park, everywhere you look is a sea of white sand.

(Truly, if you’ve never been, you should put it on your bucket list. The pictures don’t even begin to convey the experience of being there.)

But even in the midst of all that white, if you look closely you can begin to see other colors dancing through the white dunes. Most often it’s the blue of the sky, or the golden brush of the sun. Then there’s the pink of the distant mountains, and the colorful dots of people playing and hiking in the sand.

What we call white sands is actually a rainbow of atmospheric colors bouncing off the white canvas of the shifting sands.

White Sands Palette

White Sands Palette with photo of white sand dunes and corresponding pastel colors.

White Sands is one of my family’s favorite vacation spots in the world and it happens to be in our own backyard. Sort of. If you count a five hour drive as part of your backyard.

My point is, we love to take the kids, camp nearby, and bring our sleds and shovels to the park. When you live in the desert, this is as close as we get to the beach!

While it’s the middle of winter, I’m already looking forward to spring and summer plans. (By the way, spring and fall are the seasons to visit White Sands. In the summer it’s scorching hot and hard to enjoy.)

So here’s to thinking back to happy memories and planning ahead to make new ones! One day, winter will pass and we’ll emerge from our cocoons ready to party. And by party, I mean sled down a 15 foot high sand dune!


Creating a color-filled life. Conquering my little world one DIY project at a time. With lots of coffee and chocolate. Albuquerque NM. Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Facebook