More About Monte

August 21, 2010

Monte at Big Lake

Any person familiar with Monte knew he was fond of alcohol.  Those who knew him well would probably claim the use of the word “fond” is an understatement. In moments of candor, even Monte would admit he was an alcoholic.  Even so, he also believed there were different forms of alcoholism.  There is no doubt, Monte’s use of alcohol created various problems through out his life and was a constant cause of friction between him and his wife, Sharyl.

Still, Monte’s use of alcohol and the culture of the drinking life did have essential influences upon Monte, his life and his artwork.  For one, when it came to his artwork, Monte would admit the use of alcohol allowed him to dream and did  foster creative ideas and drives.  It also allowed him to escape from the realism of the commercial art world and the way the natural world is perceived and exploited in American life.  As earlier mentioned, during much of his life, Monte greatly enjoyed nature shows, but during the later part of his life he had a difficult time watching programs dealing with issues such as the destruction of the Amazon rain forest and other unnecessary acts of human destruction upon the environment.

The older Monte became, the more his world  encroached upon him and the smaller his area of comfort became.

Above is a photograph of Monte outside of a Illinois River cabin once owned by his father, John, and uncle, Fred (Fred, John’s brother, was an accomplished taxidermist and decoy carver).   The brown hat worn by Monte was knitted by hand by Sharyl and for many years always worn by Monte.  The hat is still in wearable condition and in the possession of Monte’s son.

In the years closet to his passing, Monte became more and more obstinate when it came to doing things he did not want to do and the more one tried to persuade him to do these things, the more he would dig his heels in and refuse to do them.  This attribute also created friction between Sharyl and Monte.  In their later years, Sharyl continued to enjoy going places, while Monte was the opposite and was content with remaining within his areas of comfort.   While Sharyl would enjoy traveling and interacting with a variety of people, Monte would enjoy nothing more than having a long discussion with an intelligent and thought-provoking conversationalist.

Above, left to right, Monte’s father John Ellis, Monte’s mother, Zelma Ellis, and Monte holding his granddaughter, Caitlin, in Banner, IL.

Above, Monte holding his newborn granddaughter Caitlin, Peoria, IL.

In a much earlier posting it was discussed how Monte was a panoply of contradictions.  Some who knew him would certainly describe him as selfish and egocentric, which would be correct.  But with all people, Monte was many things at different times throughout his life.  As he aged, he rationalized the life he led was his own and that he was responsible for his behavior and the repercussions that came along with his behavior.

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One Response to “More About Monte”

  1. Jane said

    He was a complex man, but fascinating. Thanks for the update.

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