The word "amateur" means "one who loves something." But as we know, love can kill.
The latest proof can be found here, in which Time magazine recounts what happened when an amateur painter attempted to restore a 19th-century church fresco in Borja, Spain: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/08/23/worst-restoration-ever-elderly-woman-botches-touch-up-job-on-19th-century-church-fresco/?iid=nf-article-mostpop1#ixzz24TflrDqB.
"Ecce Homo," the title of the painting by Elias Garcia Martinez, means "Behold man." (It's a picture of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns, so it's Christ as man.) It had faded over nearly two centuries on the wall of Santuario de la Misericordia, so Cecilia Gimenez touched it up. The final product resembles, as a Time writer remarked, "A hairy monkey wearing a baggy velvet suit and sporting what seems to be a rolled-up carpet for an arm."
Now, this might represent her true vision of mankind: Perhaps we are all beasts, especially without God's benediction. But I suspect it's simply the result of ill-advised affection for a painting she had come to admire. So what morals can we draw from this incident?
The oft-heard phrase, "Aaaahhh, my grandmother could paint something better than this!" is rarely accurate.
Reverence and talent don't go together. (The priest reportedly gave her permission.) The song "God Doesn't Love Ugly" may be true, but the Lord isn't going to prevent even a devout woman from wreaking havoc.
Maybe the final conclusion we should draw is not just that this retiree should never have touched the painting -- which is obvious -- but that she acted from a good heart. We like to say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Defacing a fresco doesn't lead to damnation, but that's a proverb we ought to keep in mind.