Life After Retirement: How a Retired Texas State University Instructor, Programmer, and Student Adviser Pursues an Equally Fulfilling Role as an Artist

For the most part of his life, Dr. Gary Jon Springer and art have been inseparable. Drawing, painting, and crafts have been an integral part of his life since childhood, spending a significant amount of time doodling in his notebooks. He earned a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts (Art History) from the University of Texas in 1987.

At the urging of his family, Dr. Springer sought a career elsewhere and pursued his master's degrees in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas and Human Services from St. Edward's University. He later earned a doctorate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Northcentral University and joined the University of Texas staff and later the Texas State University faculty.

Despite pursuing advanced studies in other disciplines, Dr. Springer recalls that his favorite elective classes were painting and photography. He was also most fulfilled during his free time when he would draw, paint, and immerse himself in crafts. It's not surprising that when he retired in 2017, he immediately found his way back to art.

Dr. Springer's innate skill and knack for art made it easy to make a name for himself in the industry. Currently, his works are displayed in the United States and Europe, with over 100 of his art pieces held by private collectors from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Israel. His works have been exhibited at the Price Center and The Walker's Gallery in San Marcos, and the Neill-Cochran Museum in Austin, Texas. Dr. Springer is also a celebrated member of the San Marcos Art League.

Clients who purchased his commissioned works often praise Dr. Springer for how his pieces fully capture precious moments and encapsulate subjects in their entirety. "Most of my work is photography-based. I am often inspired by photographs that I take myself, but I am also moved by work from professional photographers, friends, and family. Sometimes I will refer to multiple photographs as I work on one painting," shares Dr. Springer on how he creates his artworks.

While many appreciate his hand-painted original artwork and custom portraits using acrylic on canvas painting, his work is most notable for using photos to incorporate fine details in all his paintings. "Photographs can help the artist find details that many painters would ordinarily leave out. When painting from photography, I find that keeping imperfections found in the images actually makes my paintings look more authentic," reveals Dr. Springer.

Dr. Springer's original pieces, as well as reproductions, are all posted on his website at He has also displayed his art works on Instagram using the handle @artistgaryspringer.

Jennyfer Smith
Senior Journalist

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