One of Monte’s favorite songs to perform was that of Gordon Lightfoot’s Early Morning Rain.  As mentioned earlier, closer to the end of his life, Monte mainly only played music by himself.  As it is remembered, one night in his kitchen during a night of drink, in front of his son, Eric, and long-time family friends Mark and John, during a discussion about music, Monte was persuaded to bring out his guitar.

On that night, Monte played Gordon Lightfoot’s Early Morning Rain and hit every note.  The performance by Monte was magical and certainly could not have been done better if an attempt had been made to video tape the performance.  After he was done, there was a brief silent moment over what had just been witnessed. Even Monte was pleased with his performance and it was one of those moments a person knows will be remembered for years to come.

The words to this particular song are quite poignant when it comes to Monte and his life.

Below is a video of Gordon Lightfoot singing Early Morning Rain. Below that are the lyrics.


In the early morning rain
With a dollar in my hand
With an achin’ in my heart
And my pockets full of sand
I’m a long way from home
And I miss my loved ones so
In the early morning rain
With no place to go
Out on runway number nine
Big seven-o-seven set to go
And I’m stuck here in the grass
With a pain that ever grows
Now the liquor tasted good
And the women all were fast
Well there she goes my friend
She’ll be rollin’ down at last

Hear the mighty engines roar
See the silver wing on high
She’s away and westward bound
Far above the clouds she’ll fly
Where the mornin’ rain don’t fall
And the sun always shines
She’ll be flyin’ o’er my home
In about three hours time

This old airport’s got me down
It’s no earthly good to me
And I’m stuck here on the ground
As cold and drunk as I can be
You can’t jump a jet plane
Like you can a freight train
So I’d best be on my way
In the early morning rain
You can’t jump a jet plane
Like you can a freight train
So I’d best be on my way
In the early morning rain



Below are three pencil illustrations involving  deer.  The top image consists of incomplete renditions of three deer and the bottom of two deer.  The bottom illustration is a complete illustration of three deer and a flying grouse near a wooded stream.  At first glance it appears the two deer at the right of the page in the first drawing are the same as the two deer in the bottom illustrations.  A close examination of the four deer will reveal there are subtle differences and that one drawing is not a reproduction of the others.   The antlers and ears are different, as are the position of the legs.  Other differences can be found if closely examined.

In other works, even in greater detail and completion, this same aspect can be observed.

Many years ago in an interview in a local paper, Monte told the reporter he created his artwork from memory and from things he had seen in his life.  It is true Monte referred to anatomy texts and photographic images of wildlife to be able to recreate the accuracy of the physical attributes of the animal form, but he did not copy such images directly from the captured image onto his work medium.

Through his life, he also studied creatures and other wildlife in their natural habitat and had those memories to work from.

Monte never grew bored with the times he was able to watch and study wildlife in its natural settings.

The above painting depicting a mountain stream landscape is quite large.  This painting was tucked in between other unfinished paintings and not framed.  It is not known for certain, but most likely Monte did not care for the look of the painting or the way it turned out.

One item to note is the lone bird of prey in the illustration.  It was not uncommon for Monte to add the touch of the presence of a bird of prey in his pieces.

Below are three self-portraits of Monte.  One is a rough, pencil sketch and the other a photograph of a possible mixture of water-color and ink. The bottom image is a charcoal drawing and may have been done as gift for Zelma, Monte’s mother.  For some time it was in her possession.   The origins or purposes for these three items are not known.

The only other self-portraits of Monte include the earlier posted, pencil drawings of the six sons of John and Zelma Ellis from 1964 and parody drawings including Monte and others.

If one looks closely, in the lower right corner of the above image, a very different signature of Monte’s name can be made out.  The letters of Monte’s name are very long and thin.  It may be likely this drawing was done when Monte was in high school.