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


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