Let me clarify: In past centuries, iconography was a vocation conducted mainly by monastics; laymen (including women) could also be blessed to paint icons, but, in both situations, this was the only art they produced. It was a discipline, an obedience, a vocation, not a pastime or recreational pursuit. What we often see these days is artists who paint a variety of styles and subjects, with iconography being just one of them. For many of these artists, iconography is another "arrow in the quiver", as it were. Though I have come across artists who, after a while of painting icons, no longer have the urge to paint anything else. Other forms of painting simply don't appeal to them any more. All credit to them.
The interior of one of the churches in my town was painted with icons about 15 years ago by an abbot, one of his monks, and a woman who was not a monastic. The eastern wall of the church, a curved apse, features Christ and the liturgist-saints in the lower register, and, above them, a large icon of the Mother of God Enthroned. These icons were painted by the woman, who received a special blessing to enter the altar area to do her work. Quite an honor!