To obtain the scorched ‘sun lines’ for T03562, Ackling stopped at given intervals during his walk up Chillerton Down and sat with his back to the setting sun, holding up a magnifying glass at an angle, so as to deflect the rays on to his board. He described these five stages as ‘sunsets’ in the work because each time the sun sank below his immediate horizon line, he had to climb higher to catch sight of it again and to ‘catch’ it in his glass. Thus his ascent paralleled the sun’s descent. It seemed to him that the sun set five times as it sank from view and he felt as though he was resurrecting it each time he climbed further up the hill.
During the period when he made T03562, Ackling based all his work on the time scale either of one minute or of one hour. Here he used (as he still does) an ordinary magnifying glass which he trained against a special coarse pulp board for exactly one minute at each stopping point. As he climbed higher and the sun sank, its rays naturally became weaker and, in consequence, the lines become shorter towards the top of the card. The progressive shortening of the lines creates a curve which relates formally but also actually to the curve of the Down; Ackling has also compared it to the curve of the earth’s surface, which finally obscures the setting sun.
He has said that for him such works are very specific, having to do with particular times, days, seasons and specific locations, whether made in Great Britain or abroad (he frequently travels abroad to work). In T03562 and other works on card, the card remains the constant factor and it is the combination of hand and lens which determines the length and strength of the lines recorded.
Ackling points out that T03562 also records the wind conditions on the day it was made. The degree and angle of the smudging around each line indicates that the wind was stronger at 6.50pm but had weakened and changed direction by 7.15pm.