When you draw/paint/create everyday, great artwork is more of a by-product than a goal. You should enjoy the process. Doing it everyday is more about teaching your eyes to see, your mind to let go, and your heart to feel.
With each new day, I can see a composition in my mind's-eye much clearer and I'm able to paint these with much better accuracy.
"Photoshop is just a tool" has become sort of a cliche' but it's true. Alot of beginning artists wait until they can afford software, hardware, or classes to create what's in their hearts. No matter what the tool or medium, you should never wait to create. If you can't afford a computer it shouldn't stop you from finding a paper and a pencil. Practice as much as you can and it WILL make a difference.
Stop making excuses, especially to yourself. I used to think that because some of my favorite painters use both Photoshop and Painter, than I had to as well. However, there are other painters I admire that only use Photoshop. The point is, I currently don't own Painter so I shouldn't make excuses for why my art isn't as good as someone elses. However, hardware does tend to make a difference. Painting on a Wacom Intuos vs a Graphire is like painting with a whole set of paintbrushes instead of the jagged end of twig. The Intuos has already made a huge difference in my work.
If you really care about what you do then you'll find a way to afford the hardware/software that you absolutely need. For a while all I could afford was an ibook 700mhz, and a wacom graphire 4x6. I did some of my first paintings on it. I scratched and saved and was able to finally afford a macbook 2.2ghz, a wacom 6x11, Photoshop cs4 extended, and a Nintendo DS with an R4 card so I can run colors!. It's not the perfect setup. But it is my dream setup. It's the setup I knew I wanted so I focused on it and I did what I could to make my dream happen.
If you are just a beginner, don't post a message to mattepainting.org or conceptart.org etc etc with the subject "My first mattepainting/vehicle render/whatever whatever. No-one cares. The typical reason for posting this is that you think people will reply with something like "woah! first time? you're good", or something like that. It's not going to happen Unless you're an accomplished concept artist or other parallel artists that wants to dabble in something that you're already pretty good at anyway. Sometimes beginners cheat. They practice for months before posting something. Don't do this either. Other beginners will find a way to composite images together that were easy to composite anyway. I always hate this. If you really want to be good. Do the hard work. More about this next. Start posting on forums by just asking questions that haven't been asked (search !) and post something in the sketch threads. Post some WIPS but don't expect people to be amazed.
When you're a beginner, (painting for 1-5 years. yes years.) Do the hard work. For example, Paint rock textures instead of using photography. When you're a professional you'll need to do things efficiently and use photography as much as possible, but there will certainly come a time when you'll need to paint something you might not be able to find photography for. Paint from scratch. You'll be surprised how much faster you can paint some things than taking the time to look for a photo of it.
Mattepainting and conceptart isn't your teenage fad. No-one cares how much better you are than the other guy. Matte painting and art in general is a career. Please treat it with respect.