Overcoming white page syndrome. Â White page syndrome is when you open a journal or canvas and stare at the blank page, afraid to mess it up. Â You think that very first mark you make will be there forever and you spend WAY too much time stressing over how to start. Â This is where many artists will start with a tonal underpainting. Â You can watch video after video online of artists roughly painting the canvas one color. Â Aside from setting the temperature and tone of the painting, and covering up any white areas that might be missed later in the details, this gives the artist something more than a blank page to start with. Â Try splashing a bit of paint on your pages randomly. Â I often splash a bit of coffee on mine.