From this, to that……

January 31, 2010

At top is a prototype, pre-pen drawing of a Marsh Wren.

Below is the three finished product, three-dimensional, sculpture of the same piece of work. By the way, each piece of the artwork is handmade except for the varnished, lathed platform

Monte and his ideas

January 31, 2010

As earlier posted, Monte was superb and coming up with artistic ideas.  His problem was the follow through and completion.   Below are a few ideas that he did develop and actually did follow through with. Below this is an actual picture of the frame at an art show.

For whatever reason, Monte did a rough draft drawing of the above glass table which included backwater driftwood, glass and a duck decoy.  For some unknown reason, Monte never completed this piece.

Below is an artistic display frame Monte did create for traveling art shows.  Monte made this frame  wood, wire and woven strips of string. This frame could be molded and bent to make a decorative display where he could hank pieces of artwork from it.

As earlier posted, Monte was superb and coming up with artistic ideas.  His problen was the follow through and completion.   Below are a few ideas that he did develop and actually did follow through with. Below this is an actual picture of the frame at an art show.

For whatever reason, Monte developed the above glass table which included backwater driftwood, glass and a duck decoy.  For some unknown reason, Monte never completed this piece.

Below is an artistic display frame Monte did create for traveling art shows.  The frame was made of wood, wire and woven strips of string. This frame could be molded and bent to make a decorative display where he could hank pieces of artwork from it.

A simple, very early schematic of a duck on a piece of wood,

Another rough draft drawing of a way to display waterfowl

A layout for a potential art display.

Yet another potential art display schematic.

Additional pencils…..

January 29, 2010

Below is a grouping of miscellaneous pencils by Monte which show a variety in topic, style and purpose.

Unfortunately, for many of Monte’s pieces, their origin or purpose is not known.

Below is a pencil drawing of a dead bird, possibly ensnared by a fisherman’s line or some other unknown form of debris in the natural environment.  Most likely, this was once seen by Monte.  It would be interesting to know why he chose to complete this drawing in January, 1974.

Below is a rough sketch of the Illinois River Bank Gallery in a repaired form.

Below is a drawing of Bluegill fish in water beneath a pond lily.  A review of Monte’s art pieces may lead one to believe fish were not a favorite subject of his in comparison to other animals in the wild.

Below is a large drawing of two men cleaning fish.  Near the lower right corner is writing indicating this was a rough sketch of a proposed painting.  It is not known if Monte actually completed a painting based on this rough sketch.

An unfinished work…

January 27, 2010

This is a life-sized, clay sculpture of the head of an American Bald Eagle once started by Monte.  For some reason, Monte did not complete this piece.

Another interesting project once started by Monte but not completed, was a life-sized sculpture of a young fawn.

Both of these items are in the possession of Monte’s son, Eric.  A photograph of the fawn may be posted at a later date.

More Pastels…..

January 27, 2010

Below are pastel illustrations by Monte.

The first mountain scene could either be from his imagination or possibly inspired by his trips to Canada or the Arctic Circle.

A pastel of a Sycamore tree by a stream.  This could possibly be a rougher, first draft of the earlier posted gnarled, Sycamore by a stream.  This illustration is much smaller and approximately only five by five inches in size.

Some sort of experimental pastel.  The origin of the below pastel is not known.


For a long time and mostly when Kathy and Eric were younger, the Monte Ellis family had a female, black, Labrador Retriever named “Pet.”  As with most of these breed of dogs, Pet was a wonderfully friendly and loyal dog.

With age, Pet developed arthritis, other age related problems and heart-worms.   After several attempts and because of Pet’s advanced age, there was not much more a local veterinarian could do to prolong a good quality of life for Pet.

One day when Kathy and Eric were not home at the Duck Island Hunting and Gun Club, most likely in school, Monte took Pet out into the woods of the Illinois River Bottoms, put her down and buried her.

This story is hard to tell because some may believe Monte must have possessed a wanton amount of self-cruelty in being able to do such a thing, however, to him and his beliefs of nature and how the culture was back in those years, taking care of a loved pet in this manner was quite customary.

Later, when the Ellis children came home and asked where their dog had disappeared to, they were simply told Pet had run off and would most likely come back.  Coincidentally, having pets run off from the Ellis family while living in the Illinois River Bottoms was not unusual.  During one period, friends of Monte’s came across an injured deer struggling to swimming in the backwaters of the Illinois River.  After capturing the deer, these friends discovered the deer had a broken leg.  The deer was taken to a veterinarian, the leg set and then brought back to the Ellis family and nursed back to health.

Below is a photograph of Sharyl, the family deer and Pet.  Not long after the cast was removed and the deer’s leg healed, the flood waters receded and the deer returned to nature.

Only many years later did Monte and Sharyl reveal what had happened to Pet.

Below is a photograph of Monte and Sharyl’s daughter Kathy and a photograph of a pastel Monte did of her.  The polaroid of the pastel is stamped 1968.  Kathy was born on March 8, 1962, so if the date is correct, she would have been around six years old.

At the age of 43, after a battle with cancer, Kathy passed away on December 21, 2005.

The pastel was done in color and is owned by her past husband Frank and their son Kristopher.

Eric and reading….

January 17, 2010

There is a humorous story about Monte, Eric and horror.   When Eric was growing up, all things horror, especially comic books and old classic horror movies, were favorites.  Below is a charcoal drawing Monte did of Eric while he was reading a horror comic.

Most of the comics involving horror were either purchased at yard sales by Sharyl’s mother Gladys, or at a newstand in Canton, IL, by Eric.  The newsstand in Canton was ran by a short, bespectacled, pepper and salt haired woman who most resembled a middle-aged aunt.  Farmers and local folk would frequent this newsstand in the mornings while sipping coffee and gossiping.

During one period, Eric started having monster-filled nightmares.  These nightmares came when the Ellis family lived deep in the Illinois River Bottoms.  Eric’s dreams would be filled of decaying men, rising from the muck of the Illinois River mud or of creatures hiding behind massive trees.

One morning,  Eric went to the Canton Newstand, picked out a number of horror comics and took them to the check out counter for purchase.  Unbeknownst to Eric, his mother Sharyl had grown weary of his nightmares and had telephoned the Auntly-clerk and demanded she no longer sell Eric horror comics.   So, after being chastised and refused purchase, with his head down in humiliation, Eric returned them the holding racks and slunk out the front door while hearing the farmer and local folk remark about the nightmares and how Eric should stick to Richie Rich and Archie if he couldn’t handle horror comics.

Here are a handful of mostly water-color paintings completed by Monte.  The top painting with the snow-covered pine tree and the painting of he snow-capped mountains may either be mixed media paintings or heavily diluted acrylic paintings.

In the bottom painting, note the hard to see Canada goose.

Click on a painting to enlarge.

More pencils….

January 13, 2010

Here are more pencil drawings by Monte.

The nurse drawing is most likely the start of a commission project and possibly for Graham Hospital in Canton, Il.   A finished product has not been found, so the final project may not have been completed.