“It was extremely difficult to paint, but it was an honor”





Painter gifts Lisa G portrait to her husband at Fast Pitch tourney





Local artist Anthony Oropeza who has known Lisa G since they were children, gave a stirring tribute on the ball field sharing stories of Lisa G before presenting the painting to her husband Mike Galvan. His words were off the cuff but yet it meant so much to all those who attended the annual Mexican-American Men’s Fast Pitch Tournament.





Anthony Oropeza (left) says he had to tap into his many memories of Lisa in order to finish the painting and keep any sadness in the background. “Every memory of her is really good or funny or beautiful,” he says, “so that overtook a lot of the sadness.”









“Lisa G was connected with this particular Newton annual event and she (had been) from a young age,” Robert Olvera says. “She and Mike were always there. … I remember her smile, her being always willing to cheer us on and be there for support.”





BY JOE ARCE AND COREY CRABLE
At the recent 76th annual Mexican-American Men’s Fast Pitch Tournament in Newton, KS., included a special tribute to an old friend of the team – the late Lisa Galvan-Lopez.
Galvan-Lopez, known professionally as Lisa G, died in February, a victim of a shooting at Kansas City’s Union Station. Though most people knew Lisa G as a DJ and music lover, the Kansas City Bravos remembered her as a passionate fan of their team. The tribute included a special surprise – a portrait of Lisa G painted by a local artist, Anthony Oropeza, and gifted to Lisa G’s husband Mike Galvan, himself a former player for the Kansas City Bravos.

Oropeza is known best for his paintings of Kansas City sports figures, so when he decided to paint a portrait of Lisa G., he was surprised by how much emotion welled up within him.

“It was tremendously difficult because I’m looking at her eyes the whole time. Probably the part that I feel is most important are the eyes and then all the other features follow. But the eyes are most important because that to me is one of the biggest features of the face,” Oropeza says. “It was extremely difficult to paint, but it was an honor because before this tournament, I knew where it was going. It was going to go to Mike Galvan, no matter what.”

Oropeza, who has known Lisa G. since they were children, gave a stirring tribute on the ball field before presenting the painting to her husband. His words were off the cuff and hadn’t been prepared in advance.

“I didn’t write it down. It was not extremely planned out,” Oropeza says. “At the last moment, they gave me the microphone, totally unscripted. I had no idea what I was going to say.”

But the words came easily to Oropeza, who shared stories of Lisa attending past fast-pitch tournaments as one of the Bravos’ biggest supporters.

“I started to choke up a bit, but I kind of caught myself,” he recalls, adding that Lisa’s brother and sister-in-law were in attendance, having come from out of state. “Lisa was like a sister to this team. And Mike, when he became a Bravo, was like a brother.”

Oropeza says he had to tap into his many memories of Lisa in order to finish the painting and keep any sadness in the background.

“Every memory of her is really good or funny or beautiful,” he says, “so that overtook a lot of the sadness.”

Robert Olvera, the Bravos’ manager, says he’ll always remember Lisa’s smile and her unwavering support of the team.

“She was connected with this particular Newton annual event and she (had been) from a young age,” Olvera says. “She and Mike were always there. … I remember her smile, her being always willing to cheer us on and be there for support.”

Oropeza says that the feeling of being an unknown artist so many years ago to painting some of Kansas City’s greatest sports legends feels surreal however, he’s glad that paintings like his Lisa G. portrait hold such meaning to people.

“I never figured people would want me to paint their family members or loved ones and it’s one of the biggest honors,” Oropeza says. “Every day and every painting, I am so grateful to be able to try to make whatever small amount of talent I have to do something good artistically, creatively, so that it brightens up somebody’s day or gives them a good memory of somebody or something they love.”