In an interview, Monte revealed visuals in his artwork often came from things he directly observed throughout his life.  In a journal Monte kept, he mentions a tree he could see out a window while living at Big Lake.

Below is an image of a buck deer resting on the ground in front of a large, hollowed out old tree.

Along the dirt road into Big Lake, west of the Clubhouse, once grew a large Sliver Maple tree with a hollowed out base.  In the image below limbs to the tree are partially seen coming into the left of the photograph.

The photograph is a picture of flooding around the Big Lake Clubhouse.  The square portion of the Clubhouse was known as the Boot Room and was where hunters would change out of their hunting gear.

Below is a photograph of the same tree.  Note the similarity of the hollowed out portion of the bottom of the tree.

Below is another photograph of the same tree with Sharyl, Monte’s wife, sitting upon one of the limbs of the tree during a flood at Big Lake.  Note the location of the limb she is sitting upon and how high it is from the ground in the above image.

Below is a black white photograph of Eric standing in front of the same tree.  Both of the Ellis children were afraid to fully enter the hollowed out portion of the tree and often would dare each other climb inside.