Elements of Line

Costas Andrew Mikellides is a qualified Interior Designer, former Chairman of the British Institute of Interior Design, Fellow Member of the Royal Chartered Society of Designers, with experience in industry and education.

One of the fundamental studies of every Art and Design Course concerns the Elements and Principles of Design. The understanding of these two helps to enrich the visual language used by the Artist and Designer to communicate his ideas in a beautiful, expressive, meaningful and hopefully original way.

Elements can be seen, they can be touched. Principles can only be felt, they are abstract.

The Elements are:

Line  Colour  Shape  Form  Pattern  Texture  Space

The Principles are:

Composition  Proportion  Rhythm  Balance  Emphasis  Contrast  Value

In my opinion, the strongest Element is Line. Line can create shape, form, pattern, texture.

Line can be Vertical, Horizontal, Diagonal, Curvilinear.

Different Lines create different moods. A Line can create a sense of movement, inspire emotional, spiritual and visual responses.

When Line is employed successfully it conveys a feeling appropriate for the purpose of the brief.

A Vertical Line feels strong, masculine, inspires Divinity. This is so evident in the design of

Cathedrals where Gothic, especially Perpendicular Gothic style was used. Upon entering a space like that you have the everwhelming feeling you are entering the House of God.

The Horizontal Line, on the other hand, is rather static, motionless, calm. It could create a space of tranquility, peace, harmony.

The Curvelinear Line is rather feminine, soft, delicate. Graphic Designers certainly take this into consideration when designing packaging for female consumption.

The Diagonal line is dynamic, directional, with a strong sense of movement. Can you imagine an Airline logo composed of horizontal, curved lines? No. It will be designed with strong Diagonal, directional lines.


Artists like Bridget Riley  ( British b.1931- ) has spent her whole life using Line as her main Element in her work to produce Art which is fascinating, mesmerising. The optical illusions are mindboggling. She is one of the foremost exponents of Op Art. Bridget Riley: “focusing isn’t just an optical activity, it is also a mental one.”

Anoka Faruqee ( American painter and professor of painting ) has said …” for me this painting endures unlike more facile examples of Art, because like a work of thoughtful science fiction, it uncannilly compresses the past, present and future…She ( Bridget Riley) hones aspects of her past experiences in perception in order to present a wholely new perceptual event.

Jonathan Jones ( Art critic for the Guardian ) has said …” To walk into Bridget Riley’s exhibition of new works, is to see a mighty brain fizzing away with ideas that blow away all the sentimental cobwebs of Art. Riley is a philosopher who is interested in perception- and nothing else. For her, a work of Art is not a picture nor a political comment nor a splurge of self-expression. It is a way to explore seeing.

Victor Vasarely ( 1908-1997 ), Hungarian-French Artist Considered the “grandfather and leader” of the Pop Art movement.

Carlos Cruz-Diez ( 1923 – Venezuelan Artist ) Considered to be one of the greatest artistic innovators of the 20th and 21st century. His work is mainly about  Colour, Line, Perception

The Neural Correlate Society ( NCS ) of ofthalmologists, neurologists and Artists is a community of perception scientists who, a few years ago, set up an international competition to communicate and celebrate the difference between reality and perception. Kokichi Sagihara is a Japanese mathematician who has been creating incredible optical illusions and has been winning international awards for years.

My “perception” images started some time ago when I was exploring line and line composition relating to natural forms ( woodgrain, wooden furniture, tree trunks, timber structures and lines appearing on natural stone, sand dunes, contour lines of the landscape,  even multiple perspective lines with endless vanishing points…Lines left by flowing lava, fields after a flood..

Costas Andrew Mikellides: Perception, white on black.

Costas Andrew Mikellides: Perception, orange on blue

Costas Andrew Mikellides: Perception, yellow on purple.

My painting Ironstone Gorge celebrates the miracle of how tiny cyanobacteria created these magnificent coloured rock formations emerging from the bottom of the ocean, some of them one mile thick!

A quotation by Frans Lanting:

Ironstone Gorge represents a breath that became fossilized as iron. Twisted bands of bright-red oxidised iron deposited more than two billion years ago in Western Australia are evidence of a momentous change on Earth. They formed when massive amounts of oxygen produced by cyanobacteria combined with dissolved iron in Earth’s oceans.

(Cyanobacteria – a division of microorganisms that are related to the bacteria but are capable of photosynthesis. They represent the earliest known form of life on the earth.-blue-green algae.)

Costas Andrew Mikellides: Ironstone Gorge

Because cyanobacteria can exist almost everywhere and under extreme conditions, astrophysicists believe that these miracle microorganisms could easily be found on other planetary bodies, besides our own planet. That will spell LIFE beyond our own Earth, answering the big question “ARE WE ALONE ? ”

One trillion planets in our Galaxy alone. Do Exoplanets within a star’s “habitable zone” where liquid oceans could be formed sustain life? Could “Golden Star” be one of them?

An international team of astronomers has discovered a temperate Earth-sized world with the potential to harbour alien life. The planet known as Ross 128b is located a mere 11 light years from Earth, and will one day become the closest exoplanet to our Sun, dethroning our current immediate neighbour exoplanet – Proxima b.

Costas Andrew Mikellides: Golden Star


Costas Andrew Mikellides: Planetary


All images copyright and courtesy of Costas Mikellides

Get the Full Experience
Read the rest of this article, and view all articles in full from just £10 for 3 months.

Subscribe Today

, ,

No comments yet.

You must be a subscriber and logged in to leave a comment. Users of a Site License are unable to comment.

Log in Now | Subscribe Today