Art is in the eyes of the beholder
By Willie Kiernan
It may take Erika Skoglund a little longer than others to complete her artwork, but it does get done and it is art.
"It took about a month and a half to paint the tray; I have to get a good picture in my head," she said.
Skoglund, who volunteers at The Key, was approached by good friends Chris Wnorowski and Chris Tallett to help out with their contribution to the Tray Bien auction that the Historical Cazenovia Business District is running.
"They both approached me and asked if I would do this for The Key," Skoglund said. "I came up with a couple of ideas and they just said go with it."
Skoglund's tray is not only remarkable because she painted on it a scene from Cazenovia's bygone era, Memorial Park with horses and wagons of 100 years ago, but more so because of the fact that she is legally blind.
"I like to think of it as Cannon Park, back in the heyday about 100 years -- part reality, part fantasy -- it's folk art," she said.
Skoglund was working as the director of dining services and conferences at Caz College about 10 years ago when she was diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration. She has limited peripheral vision but the center of her focus is a blur in constant motion. To look at her, you wouldn't know it.
"I like to do crafty things for friends," she said. "I'm now doing watercolors. I also did a lot with clay, little clay houses, replicas of buildings in town."
Living in Erieville, Skoglund took pictures of all the structures surrounding Memorial Park for her tray painting. Without a driver's license, she depends on her husband Jack for transportation.
"There's not a lot she can't do, but she's a little slow," said Jack Skoglund, who is in the asphalt paving business.
Still, identical trays were issued to chamber members months ago to be decorated by artists of their choice with only about half being done by the due date.
"I knew it would take a while so I started early," Erika Skoglund said.
The trays will be auctioned on the lawn at the Brae Loch inn in August. There are 25 trays in all.