While a painter by definition can be anyone who paints, whether portraits or buildings, most people think of a painter as an artist. A painter is a person who shows creativity in the art of applying paint to a surface. Usually this is canvas or paper, but can be any surface.
A painter can choose different ways to represent themselves. They can be realists who try to make their subject look like real life. They can be abstract painters whose work has no objective reference to reality. Or they can be almost anything in between.
While there have been painters since the days of the cave paintings, through Egyptian times, Greece, and the Roman Empire, it was Giotto who is credited with bringing in the modern era of painting. Even though he died in the 14th century, he led the way for the likes of Botticelli, da Vinci, Rembrandt, Vermeer, van Gogh, Picasso, and Dali.
While the traditional materials exist, the painter of the 21st century and beyond has, like his photographic brethren, taken to digital painting, and with the use of products like Corel Painter and online training, there is no telling what new trends lie ahead.