The Art of Conversation

July 31, 2016

One thing Monte enjoyed was speaking with interesting and engaging people.  The practice of conversation, often with men in drink, can be observed in pieces of his artwork.

Two drinking musicians, 271

Pencils, three out doorsmen sharing drink, inside cabin, 090

In Monte’s writings, be mused of the interesting conversations hunters would have had while sitting around the fireplace in the club house at Big Lake.



Monte was quite apt in topics of a wide range.  Of course, one of his most passionate and knowledgeable areas to discuss was that of the natural world.  Often times, he would bring forth morsels of information involving the natural world not commonly known to others.

Usually, there weren’t too many topics he would avoid, so long as they were kept interesting.

In his later years, Monte, possibly because of the increase usage of spirits, tended to be somewhat of a provocateur in his comments and conversations.  Some times these comments could be acerbic and not well received.

When this did happen, typically the best defense would be to throw these verbal hot potatoes right back in Monte’s lap.

Still, Monte would not be shy when a boorish lull appeared in conversation and would do what he could to liven the repartee again.


Monte’s wife, Sharyl, was known to collect furniture and preferable wooden antiques from a variety of places.  Most often these items would be covered in ugly paint and she would strip the paint and refinish the items.  Some where, it can’t be recalled, she found a wooden, reclining chair and Monte made it his own.  Years later, Monte’s close friend Marv Robinson found him an almost twin to his favored chair.

In the below picture, Monte sits in his chair and one can see the start of the clay elk inside the lid to the oak, grand piano once owned by the Monte Ellis family. Monte later completed the elk and made a casting of the elk.

Monte, Banner house, Grand Piano 0066


Monte’s American elk sculpture.

In Monte’s final home, he was known to hold court in the kitchen of the home.  Beneath his chair, the finish of the wooden floor had long been worn away from all the time he spent entertaining guests and playing music.

Near the end of his life, in telephone conversations with his son, when asked what he had been doing, he would say “playing his music” and working on his final piece of artwork.

Sculpture, Wolf's Head, Monte's Last Piece 033