What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
This is either depressing or comforting. If everything has been done before, then what is the point? More specifically here, is there anything new left to do in art? I think as art imitates life, and sometimes foreshadows it, we can see how people over the years have arrived at this conclusion. With nothing "new" left to paint, let's abstract it. Let's keep looking for the next thrill. And when we can't find it, we get depressed.
The problem is that we are looking for satisfaction and meaning in worldly things -under the sun. What we come to learn from Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes is that there is in fact meaning, but it is not in the things of this world but rather in things of God. Without Him, life really is meaningless.
When I realize that I paint because of God, and when I truly paint for Him and His glory rather than my own, then I don't need to search for meaning. This is it and it's enough.