The most logical first step in beginning to correct or repair an icon, is to pray.
This prayer was shared with me recently by a fellow iconographer. It is lovely, and was perhaps written especially for young iconographers attending workshops given by Ina Hecker. It certainly spoke to me, as I begin to ponder how to repair my St.Tabitha icon.
Teach me, Lord, to use wisely the time which You have given me, and to work well without wasting a second. Teach me to profit from my past mistakes without falling into a gnawing doubt. Teach me to anticipate the project without worry, to imagine the work without despair if it should turn out differently. Teach me to unite haste and slowness, serenity and ardor, zeal and peace.
Help me at the beginning of the work when I am the weakest. Help me in the middle of the work when my attention must be sustained. And especially fill all the emptiness of my work with Your Presence. Lord, in all the work of my hands, bestow Your Grace so that it can speak to others and my mistakes can speak to me alone. Keep me in the hope of perfection, without which I would lose heart, yet keep me from achieving perfection, for surely I would be lost in arrogance.
Purify my sight when I am doing poorly, for one is never sure that the work will turn out badly; Yet when I am doing well, one is never sure that the work will turn out well. Lord, let me never forget that all knowledge is in vain unless there is work. And all work is empty unless there is love. And all love is hollow unless it binds me both to others and to You.
Lord teach me to pray with my hands, my arms, and all my strength. Remind me that the work of my hands belongs to You and that it is fitting to return this gift to You. Yet, if I work for the pleasure of others, like a flowering plant in the evening I will wither. But if I work for the love of goodness, I will remain in goodness. And the time to work for goodness and for Your Glory is now.