Elizabeth Strazzula
Artist Elizabeth Strazzula

Specializing in painting portraits of music, Elizabeth Strazzula has created a wildly colorful work of art based on a Joe Craven tune for this year’s Live Oak Music Festival. Her painting “Hot Turkey” was inspired by Craven’s Gypsy jazz adaptation of the traditional American fiddle song, “Turkey in the Straw,” performed at Live Oak.

Strazzula studies a piece of music, selects elements to paint, and then “conducts” the music with her pen to draw its shape and direction before applying the color. The artist says the historical connection between the two pieces – her “Hot Turkey” painting and Joe Craven’s “Hot Turkey” song – beautifully illustrates the great tradition of American music, “and therefore shows the wonderful worth to be had in an American music festival.”

Here’s what Joe Craven has to say about this year’s Live Oak artwork: “‘Hot Turkey’ by Elizabeth Strazzula is her beautiful visual inspiration of my musical adaptation of the fiddle tune ‘Turkey in the Straw,’ busting out all over with energy and mischief in a dance step of multi-colored seasonings just right for any festive occasion, especially the Live Oak Music Festival 2017. Thank you, Elizabeth, and now...let's ALL dance!”

Strazzula, whose work is shown at galleries in Boston, Atlanta, and Connecticut, says, “One of the things I find exciting in my music paintings is that they never existed before. The music painting, whilst honoring the musical composition, is something totally new – and never before seen.” She says it is “delightful” and “gratifying” to hear Joe Craven’s reaction to her artwork, especially since she’s never painted the music of a living composer before.         

Based in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Strazzula majored in music at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and plays several instruments. Inspired by her mother, Elizabeth Wadleigh Leary, who’s a prolific painter, Strazzula then pursued visual arts. She studied painting with Robert Scott Jackson in Massachusetts and then at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. Merging her music and art studies, her “seeing music” paintings translate the beauty and movement in the language of sound into the language of sight.