I've used Photoshop since version 1.0, it is a great image editor and it is useful in image creation as well. I first tried Painter a dozen years ago, at that time Adobe had already won me over with how to edit bitmaps and vectors using Photoshop and Illustrator. Painter has some similarities to Photoshop, but the similarity between working with Photoshop ends quickly once you scratch past the surface of the tool. Just as drawing with vectors in Flash is very different from the feel and approach of drawing with vectors in Illustrator, manipulating pixels in Painter is very different from doing so in Photoshop. A good mantra when trying to get your head around Painter would be repeating "Painter is NOT Photoshop".
My desire to learn Painter never quite went away, so in September I bought Painter 9.5. I gave it another shot and felt that I was hitting the same Adobe-UI-induced mental block that I hit years earlier. Before I knew it, Painter X was released and I bought it.
After two false starts with Painter, I decided to get some instructor-led training from Painter expert John Derry. After watching John work, I feel like I finally have an idea where Painter is coming from.
Here are a few images I created at John Derry's Nashville Workshop: