Monte and Sharyl

December 27, 2010

As posted earlier, Monte and Sharyl Ellis had a passionate, complex marriage.  Some aspects of their marriage still remain personal and go beyond the scope of this site, but it does need to be emphasized again, that if not for Sharyl’s grand patience and tolerance of Monte and his behavior, he most likely would not have been able to produce the art, both in amount and quality, that he was able to do so.

Sharyl selfishly provided an environment where Monte could develop his talents, though at times, he sorely pressed the edges of her accommodating nature.  From time to time throughout their marriage, it was not uncommon for Monte to be exiled from the family homes, mainly because of his consumption of alcohol.  While living at Big Lake, when Monte’s behavior was disruptive, he would be forced to stay away from the main house in a bedroom within the Club House.  At the time, this probably was not known to the owners of Big Lake and most likely would not have been condoned (this thought is surmised because at one point Monte had to ask permission to move his studio from the living quarters house to that of the Big Lake Clubhouse).  Later, when the Monte Ellis family lived in Banner, IL, he would be temporarily exiled to a cabin he owned along the Illinois River. Monte had purchased this cabin from his well-thought of cousin Greg Riley and turned it into his Riverbank Gallery.

Also mentioned earlier, was the truth Sharyl was the economic bread-winner of the Monte Ellis family and without the generosity of both of their families, economic matters for their family would have been much, much harsher.

When it came to gift giving between Monte and Sharyl, Sharyl was receptive to items from the heart and often, Monte would craft things to express his feelings toward Sharyl.

Below is a home-made card Monte made for Sharyl.  A poem in Monte’s distinct handwriting is inside of the card and though not known for certain, it is believed to have been written by Monte.

Although this fragile thing
lived for years –
And in spring green leaves
moved with windy rains
and autumns said “sleep
for a winter”…..
Then winters’ snows rested
upon it’s branches.

It now lies – sleeping forever
but we who will still feel
spring rains upon our brows
and cold and snow
for a few more years – may
gaze upon it’s peace & beauty
and hope that some
may enter us


Wolves in pencil

December 24, 2010

The wolf was another favorite animal of Monte’s.  Over the years, Monte was known to express how difficult it was for him to recreate an accurate depiction of a wolf in either two-or three-dimensional form.  He also was known to comment how in artwork, he couldn’t recall an artist, even himself, who could capture the raw intensity of an angry wolf.

Below are three pencils of wolves by Monte.

Again, like the raccoon, in Monte’s artwork, the wolf is not well represented in paintings or color works.  This may be because Monte perceived there was a more striking contrast of black and white artistic mediums preferred by Monte when it came to works involving the wolf.

Like other animals with similar characteristics, Monte was also drawn to the wolf by its nature and what the characteristics of the wolf represent.

At one point, Monte acquired a larger, round, photograph of a wolf’s head, lightly dusted with falling snow.  Monte was particularly found of this image and kept it displayed on his kitchen wall.

And as earlier posted, the last piece of artwork Monte was working on prior to his death was a clay representation of a wolf’s head, photographed below.

Geese over rough water pencil

December 15, 2010

Below is a pencil of a pair of Canada geese over rough water.

A Pair of Raccoon Pencils

December 12, 2010

Below are a pair of pencils of Raccoons.

When it comes to Monte’s artwork, the interesting thing about the raccoon is while he was quite fond of the raccoon, the raccoon does not make a great deal of appearances in his pieces.   Of Monte’s raccoon pieces, only one color piece exists and it is not believed Monte reproduced these animals in a sculpture setting.  For one reason, Monte probably felt the raccoon was more dramatically captured in black and white formats rather than in color formats.  The reason why Monte chose not to create three-dimensional portrayal of a raccoon is not known.

A few things that are known about Monte and his fondness of raccoons deals with his admiration of their inquisitive nature, the mothering of their young and the human-like paws.

While living at Big Lake, it was not uncommon for raccoons to climb on to the roof of the house during the middle of the night and root around for items of interest.

‘Tis The Season

December 3, 2010

Above is a pencil drawing of Santa and elves.   (Much earlier another pencil drawing of Santa and elves was posted, but in that drawing, Santa was playing music for his dancing elves).  Monte could either take or leave the Christmas season, but did enjoy the opportunity it allowed for his family members to get together.  Monte’ s wife Sharyl and their daughter Kathy greatly enjoyed the Christmas season.

Sharyl enjoyed acts of giving a great deal and later in her life, to get away from spending a lot of money during the Christmas season, she enacted a rule of only children could receive legitimate gifts, while the adults were required to only present “gag” gifts to each other.

Their daughter Kathy was quite fond of the holiday season.  She always enjoyed the displaying of lights, trinkets and other colorful decorations to liven up the winters in Illinois.


Below is a very light, rough sketch parody of Santa dealing with a hunter who has….well….

And below the Santa drawing is another parody of a hunter mishandling Donald Duck.