GLENS FALLS For Jess Monroe, a spontaneous decision to pick up a paint brush one day was a natural extension of her life. With less than a year of experience, the North Creek native has progressed from her first canvas to having an art display at the Rock Hill Cafe in Glens Falls, including the sale of several original works. Without the benefit of a formal art education or background, she points to her family when describing her early interest in painting and a love for art in all its forms. My grandmother is Helen Lawrence from North River, Monroe said. Shes a local artist and I can remember when I was a lot younger I would sneak in her art room and play with the paints and stuff. I think thats where it all started. This early interest in art, and pure self-expression, led her to several pursuits including music, photography, poetry, and song-writing. I like to try new things, she said. Its who I am. After leaving the area following high school, Monroe spent time travelling the country and living in such places as San Diego and Seattle. Eventually she found herself back in the region and working in the Rock Hill Cafe on Exchange Street. It was her return to this area that led to a casual experiment with a room-mates borrowed brushes and canvas. Satisfied with the results, and as her confidence grew, she started to invest in her own supplies and showing other people her paintings. One day I got up the courage to ask the owner of Rock Hill if I could display my art and it all kind of grew from there, she added. He let me do it and the rest is history. Since putting her work on display she has received a considerable amount of public feedback, including the opportunity to sell a small number of her works. Describing the experience as humbling, and a little scary, she is actively pursuing other public display opportunities in Glens Falls and the region. It was kind of weird to sell my paintings, she said. I think if somebody really liked them that much I would probably just give them away. Staying true to her belief that art stems from a love of personal expression she remains committed to following her new path without a clear-cut goal in mind. I never really thought too much about being an artist - its just one of those crazy things that just happened and I ran with it. Right now I look at it like a hobby but I do intend to keep going with it, Monroe concluded. Art to me is a form of healing its my salvation.