The Secret Life cannot be explained in words; otherwise it would not be a secret life! It falls, in Cohen’s own words, “among the voices and the wine”.
The paintings are a direct response to songs from Leonard Cohen’s albums “The Future”  and “Ten New Songs” . Although all the songs effected me in a positive way, certain lines appealed because of their striking imagery, often dark but never despondent. The music itself was also a source of ideas, and in most cases this was not the music of Cohen but of Sharon Robinson who corroborated with him in the setting of his poems to music.
You cannot paint an entire song. You listen, respond to certain images and absorb what you can. This might result in a rather oblique, abstract and perhaps enigmatic painting, but one has to keep in mind that poetry too can be oblique and abstract, and music, in its purist form, can be the most abstract of all the arts. The resulting painting might be abstract or semi-abstract. It might be representational. It might be enigmatic.
A visual artist can say: “I listened to a song and this is what came into my mind when I started painting”. So, it is not just the words but whatever mood the music suggests: the rhythm, the instrumentation, the melody, etc. Ultimately it’s the totality of the experience that assails his senses. If it is a particular poetic image that sticks in his mind the outcome may not be a photographic representation of that image but a response to the musical mood in which the image is cradled – at the point when words and music are one and the same entity.
Ideally, one should be listening to the songs when viewing the paintings.
Leonard Cohen, for me, always evokes pictures. The setting, ostensibly, is nearly always urban yet his mind is constantly elsewhere: we are frequently drawn to some rural landscape or seascape.
And I think that although Leonard Cohen may well spend a lot of his time far from the maddening crowd, his invocations are, ostensibly, present-day urban. However, he frequently evokes a time and place that existed eternities ago. Trees and rivers and seas have been around for a very long time; traffic jams only in the last few decades. The paintings do not represent Cohen’s urban world, but a world that belongs to no particular time and place, a world imagined when you close your eyes and nod off for a split second. Yes, they do indeed seem to fall among the voices and the wine!