Sunthing Special, works of art by Cari Miller

Sunthing Special, works of art by Cari Miller Sunthing Special is works of art by artist Cari Miller: fun, funky, colorful, unique and affordable paintings, photos, notecards, Akron items and more!
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Operating as usual

12/31/2020

Goodbye 2020, Welcome 2021, and Goodbye for Now

We all know that when the clock strikes midnight, things aren't magically going to get better, right?

2020 wasn't totally awful for me. Sure it was mostly awful, but there were some good moments. And I have to try to remember that, and hold on to that.

As I look to 2021 in the "the glass is half-empty" kind of mood I'm in, I already know of some some sad things that are bound to happen, and some changes I'll have to deal with (I'm not good at dealing with change AT ALL). And these are just the things on my radar. We all know about the hundreds of things that get thrown at us that for which we're totally unprepared.

But I hope that for me, as well as for you, no matter what the new year holds there are many good, special, happy moments you are able to recognize, treasure and hold close to you when you need them in tough times.

That's all I have to say for now. Until I have more to say or art to show -- take care and thanks for reading. You probably don't hear it enough, but you guys are great. :)

12/31/2020

Update: Physical Health
Those of you who have followed me know that I am queen of quirky (and not so quirky) health issues. Remember the hangnail that got infected and resulted in emergency finger surgery?? Fortunately nothing was life-threatening (My husband took care of that with his two mountain bike accidents and the pulmonary embolisms he got after a long-distance plane ride).

Anyway, this year was filled with lots of issues, a few that were resolved, but some that I will have to live with.

No big deal are the ones that got resolved:
- A bump on my scalp that I had noticed last year got all big and gross. I had two biopsies on it and it ended up being just a freaky cyst. After all the gunk was cleaned out of it it eventually healed.
- Dry mouth and oral thrush (because I had dry eyes as well I was tested for Sjogren's Syndrome; fortunately I was negative for that)
- Frozen Shoulder Syndrome, which I'm still recovering from (it takes about 3 months). Another freaky and random thing which is REALLY REALLY painful. If you don't believe me, just ask my family, which hears me screaming, moaning and/or whimpering when I do my stretching exercises at home.

BUT the ones I have to live with are bigger deals to me (though I tell myself all the time they could be SO. MUCH. WORSE.):
- I found out this summer I'm GLUTEN INTOLERANT!!!! That means I can't eat things with gluten (basically wheat, barley and rye), i.e. my favorite foods like pasta, brownies, donuts, bread, cookies, etc. Or I get very sick (think, can't really leave bed for a day or two). And PLEASE don't tell me how there are so many good gluten-free things there are at stores now, blah blah blah. First, they are SO!!! overpriced. And second, I think all gluten-free foods have a gritty texture to them. I prefer food that naturally doesn't have gluten (wheat, barley and rye) as opposed to something that tries to replace the gluten. Unfortunately I can't even tell you how awful this is for me, someone who rarely touches fruits and vegetables.
So the list of things I eat is very limited, and because of this, I burn out of foods pretty quickly and then the list gets smaller. I'm hungry a lot, which makes me cranky. I have experimented with some recipes but the problem is I spending time making things when I don't know what they're going to turn out like. The majority of time they taste like garbage and they get thrown out because no one will eat them. It's been a few months and I would have thought I'd have it settled by now. But I haven't.
- I started having DAILY MIGRAINES this summer! I went on Trokendi, which is a preventative medicine I take every night. But guess what, I also get BREAKTHROUGH MIGRAINES. Plus, regular headaches too, just for fun. And cluster headaches.
- I have been having random tingling in my hands and feet for months. It's worse in my left hand which I guess is a result of the carpal tunnel syndrome I had 7 years ago because I would hold my canvases in my left hand. I also found out I have mild neuropathy in my legs. They are doing blood work to maybe find out why, but they'll most likely never know. In any event, I will have to live with this super annoying tingling the rest of my life.
- Dry eye syndrome. Again, a new thing. Eye drops forever.

I have a close friend who went to the doctor for the first time in four years. In the last six months I don't think I've gone two weeks without going to one. Lately, with PT, I've been going at least 3x/week.

Again, I know how very, very lucky I am that I don't have it any worse. But at times, along with everything else, you just feel like "Seriously? Now I have THIS?" But don't we all have "THIS" in one way or another?

Protesting in 2020I may not have felt a lot of joy in 2020, but I did feel A LOT of anger toward all the injustices bein...
12/30/2020

Protesting in 2020
I may not have felt a lot of joy in 2020, but I did feel A LOT of anger toward all the injustices being done toward Blacks and other minorities. As well as donating money to certain causes, I took my youngest daughter (as well as other family members) along with me on several protests and other marches (it was voluntary on their parts; I would NEVER push my politics on anyone).

I am firmly against police brutality and police abuse of power. Yet I firmly believe our society needs police as diverse and as well-trained in diversity as possible. I know all lives matter, but I get how a Black people feel their lives do not matter as much as Whites. Unfortunately, you see examples of racism every day. It even happens to well-known celebrities.

It was exciting to participate in the protests and marches. They were peaceful. Everyone wore masks. They were no riots. There were Whites and Blacks, young and old (as noted by the sign of the random guy next to me). Sure I was almost always one of the oldest people there, but it was heartening to see all the young people there as they will lead the future. What was awesome was seeing all the Whites -- without their involvement, no true change will occur as they currently hold the power.

I've loved seeing the changes that HAVE happened since May. And I hope they continue. I hope this truly is a movement, not just a moment, as had been said. The diverse new cabinet president-elect Joe Biden hopes to have is a promising sign.

(Photo: me and some random protest marcher in Cleveland)

12/30/2020

When Time Seemed to Stop
I often feel like time stopped on March 13, and every day since then has been one long blur. Probably because for the last nine months basically all five of us (plus Pepper) have been home with each day blending almost seemlessly into the next. It is difficult to keep track of what day it is as every day seems like "Blursday".

We've missed out on countless experiences as event after event after event has been cancelled (or we've cancelled). Although I'd be okay with the kids going to school five days a week, school has been virtual or hybrid (going in two days a week and online the remaining three days). My husband's been working from home since March and won't go back to the office until June at the earliest. The oldest two have part-time jobs and it seems I'm always going to the doctor or running errands, but for the most part we err on the side of caution (and we're all introverts anyway) so we stay home as much as possible.

But I keep thinking of my year of monotonous blur in contrast to the year of blur for those I know. I know of four people who lost their parents this year. In fact, my two closest friends lost their moms (one to Covid) (and my mother-in-law just lost her sister to Covid). In particular, one friend's year was a blur as she spent hours and hours every pretty much single day for months on end at her mom's side, offering her sips of water, playing classical music and holding her hand. Sometimes getting a response but often not. Her life was at a standstill, yet it wasn't. The holidays have been a blur as they -- and everyone else who has lost a loved one -- continue to process their loss, especially at what is supposed to be "the happiest season of all."

On the opposite end, my niece and her husband, already parents to a toddler, welcomed a baby. I'm sure the year has been a blur to them as well, but for different reasons.

In 2020 life paused. It blurred. But like any other year, it ended for some. And began for others. In that way, nothing changed.

12/30/2020

Update: Art/Mental Health
I haven't really considered myself an artist this year as I haven't made much art. To make art, I need to feel something. Usually joy. Sometimes anger, as evidenced by my somewhat disturbing rat paintings from earlier this year.

But I didn't feel much joy this year. I'm sure a lot of people could say that. People who never had mental health issues have them now. And for those of us who already have them, this year didn't help.

Since I was a young adult, I have suffered from anxiety and bipolar 2 disorder with some mild PTSD thrown in there. Unfortunately, most of that wasn't diagnosed or treated for way, way, way, way too long. And really, there is no "cure" for any of it, though you can try to manage it through meds and talk therapy.

Having Bipolar 2 is the worst*, and I think only those who have it can really understand how it makes most days kind of a special hell (for both you AND your family). (*Actually, having Bipolar Disorder I is the worst). But at least I'm in good (?) company. So many celebrities (as well as everyday people of course) have lived with, suffered from, and frequently killed themselves because of, this mental disorder: Carrie Fisher, Jackson Pollock, Edvard Munch, Isaac Newton, Virginia Woolf, Jane Pauley, probably Vincent Van Gogh and more.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_with_bipolar_disorder

Any way, not sure when I'll return to art. In a manic phase this summer I donated tons and tons of art and craft supplies. My drawing table is completely empty except for a lamp. But I have paint and I have brushes and I have canvases. All I need is passion.

And this is most important, if you are having mental health issues, don't be embarrassed! Getting help is the bravest thing you can do!

Update: PepperThose of you who have followed me know about Pepper, the papilion/border collie we rescued in November 201...
12/29/2020

Update: Pepper
Those of you who have followed me know about Pepper, the papilion/border collie we rescued in November 2013 from Paws and Prayers. He was my first (and will be my only) dog. He and I are inseparable.

From May to mid-August Pepper was very sick and I thought for sure we were going to lose him. I took him back and forth to the vet but they didn't know what was wrong with him. I cried buckets every day. In mid-July an oncologist did tests and diagnosed him with what she is almost positive is prostate cancer, along with kidney issues. We didn't get the definitive cancer test, because it was expensive and invasive, and at his age, we figured there was no point in putting him through all kinds of cancer treatments that might only add a few months to his life. The oncologist gave him a few weeks to live and gave him pain meds to keep him comfortable. I was inconsolable.

Pepper remained very sick. But then when he finished his third round of antibiotics for a kidney infection and was on pain meds, in mid-August he became pretty much his old self! It was totally crazy great!! It only lasted a few weeks but it was so amazing and wonderful. We got all kinds of photos of him grinning, like this one.

Since then his tumor hasn't really gotten bigger (a minor miracle!) but he still has many issues -- including old dog issues -- and I still worry about him every single day. I know my time with him is limited, and it's really hard to see him declining. But he has shown such spirit and fight to stay with us. More reasons to make me cry. Not that I need more ...

12/29/2020

I know I've dropped out of sight since May. I don't plan on returning to social media, but I did want to give an update on several different areas.

First, Covid. I sincerely hope you and your loved ones have been able to stay safe from this scourge. Fortunately, my immediate family has. But it seems every day I hear of more and more people I know within a few degrees of separation who have had it or died from it. How could you not when millions in our country have had it, and 332,000+ have died from it?

I can't even begin to talk about it from a political level and how countless lives were lost because of people at the highest levels of government putting politics and their jobs before people. They spread misinformation as easily as they spread Covid at their superspreader events.

But just as guilty were the many members of the general public disobeying basic safety rules (i.e. not wearing masks) as well as thousands of people hoarding more toilet paper and cleaning supplies than they could use in a lifetime and just being jerks in general.

Fortunately, the random acts of kindness and the heroism of those on the front lines -- from health care workers to grocery store workers -- showed just how good and unselfish and dedicated and caring people can be.

Vaccines are on the way, a miracle. But they won't be available to the general public for several more months. In the meantime, just obey the safety guidelines. But I'm sure if you read this, you're a nice person and already do that. :)

Sunthing Special, works of art by Cari Miller's cover photo
12/29/2020

Sunthing Special, works of art by Cari Miller's cover photo

Rat series; all works made of a handmade stencil, spray painted then detailed with paint markers
05/07/2020

Rat series; all works made of a handmade stencil, spray painted then detailed with paint markers

Rat series; all works made of a handmade stencil, spray painted then detailed with paint markers

Rat series; all works made of a handmade stencil, spray painted then detailed with paint markers
04/30/2020

Rat series; all works made of a handmade stencil, spray painted then detailed with paint markers

Rat series; all works made of a handmade stencil, spray painted then detailed with paint markers

Sunthing Special, works of art by Cari Miller's cover photo
04/15/2020

Sunthing Special, works of art by Cari Miller's cover photo

04/15/2020

I hope you are all safe and healthy during these truly terrible times. I am one of the "privileged" ones -- my husband is able to work from home so I'm very fortunate our family is able to stay home together other than almost-daily trips to the park and occasional trips to the pharmacy or grocery store.

These times bring me emotions that are constantly churning and changing inside me -- sorrow, rage, fear, worry, frustration, pity, encouragement, depression -- what everyone else is feeling.

I have been on a social media break for some time now, but I am taking a brief hiatus to show you what I've been working on to release some of my emotions. They are shown in the previous post.

These are rather dark, especially since most of my work is bright and happy. But these are not really bright and happy times, are they?

The inspiration came from a two-hour workshop I did in an workshop at Akron ArtWorks in January where we studied street artist Banksy's work and then created our own by handmaking stencils, spray painting, then adding details with paint markers. Banksy uses a lot of rats in his work, so I used one in my original work.

I really wanted to try the technique again because I was feeling so much emotion and regular acrylic painting takes me too much time. So two weeks ago I continued my series of rat paintings using the spray painting process. Sometimes the rat is predator and sometimes he is prey and sometimes both. I'm not sure who or what the rat symbolizes.But it seems the best way to represent what I feel inside.

I'm sure there will be more to come ...

Rat series; all works made of a handmade stencil, spray painted then detailed with paint markers
04/15/2020

Rat series; all works made of a handmade stencil, spray painted then detailed with paint markers

Rat series; all works made of a handmade stencil, spray painted then detailed with paint markers

Erin Leslie, owner of the Paper Mill Studio in West Akron, also used my blimp logo on acrylic ornaments and a mug. Perfe...
12/10/2019

Erin Leslie, owner of the Paper Mill Studio in West Akron, also used my blimp logo on acrylic ornaments and a mug. Perfect for Akron lovers, past and present!

My blimp art on drinkware ... exclusively from the Paper Mill Studio in Akron. Makes a perfect gift!
12/10/2019

My blimp art on drinkware ... exclusively from the Paper Mill Studio in Akron. Makes a perfect gift!

Another great workshop last night at Akron ArtWorks in the Merriman Valley -- this time, alcohol inks. We experimented o...
12/08/2019

Another great workshop last night at Akron ArtWorks in the Merriman Valley -- this time, alcohol inks. We experimented on a special kind of paper, then were able to make four tiles. The results are kind of cool, but, like watercolors, I have very little control over what happens. As a *kind of* control freak, this was VERY frustrating for me.

Pepper's take on the Akron Children's Hospital Holiday Tree Festival
12/01/2019

Pepper's take on the Akron Children's Hospital Holiday Tree Festival

Today is Small Business Saturday. Coincidentally, I'm a small business! And I have practically one of everything. Seriou...
11/30/2019

Today is Small Business Saturday. Coincidentally, I'm a small business! And I have practically one of everything. Seriously! Paintings of subjects ranging from coffee mugs to creatures and suns? I've got it. Christmas tree art? Got that too. Photos of skies and skylines? Check. Handmade holiday cards? Of course. Akron snowflake ornaments? Absolutely. And SO. MUCH. MORE. Most of my items are on this very site -- just look at the photo albums. :) If something piques your interest, just let me know. :)

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I want my art to bring joy to people

My name is Cari Miller, artist and owner of Sunthing Special. I have been drawing and writing as long as I can remember. In my 30+ year career, I have worked as a reporter, associate editor, graphic designer, commissioned artist, professional photographer, and more. For five years (2011-1015) I had a studio/gallery in downtown Akron. Since then I have been working from my home in NW Akron.

I started painting suns in the early 2000s, and have been fortunate enough to have six of them appear on “CBS Sunday Morning” a total of 11 times. I have been in dozens of shows, and won some awards from time to time. My Akron-oriented items were sold in places like the Akron-Canton Airport and the former West Point Market. But what makes me happiest is when my art finds the right “home”, or even just brings a smile to someone’s face as he or she looks at it. My art is primarily bright and happy, because I have always felt there is more than enough sadness in the world and maybe my purpose on earth is to create art that brings joy to others.

I use a lot of different media and my mind never stops going. I like to use scraps when I can. I also like to use my art to help bring awareness to causes. I have raised a total of well over $2,000 to support causes like Save the Children, the Akron Soap Box Derby, Life is Good No Matter What and the Water Project.

My art is an extension of myself, so this Facebook account is too. :)

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