It has been twenty years since I said goodbye to my position as lecturer in art and cultural history at the Minerva Academy in Groningen. I learned a great deal from my students and colleagues in Groningen. When you have just left the university, as I had at the time, you take a lot of book knowledge with you, but that knowledge is of limited use once you enter the world of color studies, model drawing, oil paint and evaluations.
In particular, the evaluation discussions and final exams, where I had the privilege of playing the role of clerk, were a real feast. All the instructors, students and their final exam products would find themselves together in one classroom, and it did not matter how long the process took or how much the grade book was going to weigh by the end of the day. Even the most miniscule of drawings that I might consider mediocre would occasion extensive discussions among other teachers who saw something more worthwhile in it.
Lieuwe Kingma’s work never needed to be discussed at length. Even a child could see that it was good. In the early eighties, many of Minerva’s students had developed a rather conservative style, somewhere between impressionism and expressionism, which they took over from their teachers. Lieuwe used this traditional approach early on as a springboard to develop a style of his own, which by no means represented a break with tradition, rather a very individual interpretation of it.