I use Photoshop (any version will do, honestly; i use the brush tool for most of what I do).
I paint with a mouse or a tablet depending on my mood (mouse was used for a good portion of the Olympus piece).
Getting started can seem challenging. It's like climbing a mountain for the first time. To climb mountains you need gear (photoshop/tablet), but you also need some experience. You build art muscle by practicing and building up over a long period of time.
Start sketching things you like, and if you feel you lack direction, you can choose a subject (like wolves) or a principle (like composition) and study/focus on it for a month. That's how I started/got better and what I still do. There are plenty of resources online to check out. If you want, you can go to my Tumblr account's Art Advice page and look at what I've put there. I've put motivation, practical tips, and links to a lot of tutorials.
Hope that helps!