The fish may look real, swimming through the gap in this table because of the 3D effect Tim Larson uses in his ‘epoxy river art.’ Larson is a featured artist through July 10 for the Artists in Residence series at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock.
Professional artist and illustrator Tim Larson explains some of the process in how he creates ‘epoxy river art’ furniture, like with this coffee table.
This laminated and mounted painting of a wild turkey is one of 70 such illustrations in Tim Larson’s new book, ‘The Birds of Blowing Roc and the Blue Ridge Parkway.’

Professional artist and illustrator Tim Larson explains some of the process in how he creates ‘epoxy river art’ furniture, like with this coffee table.
BLOWING ROCK — That Tim Larson is a practiced, professional illustrator is clearly evident in his work now being exhibited at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock. The Hickory native turned full-time Blowing Rock resident is one of two artists featured this week in the Blowing Rock Historical Society’s Artists in Residence series.
Self-taught, Larson’s creative skills run the gamut of oils, watercolors and acrylics of birds, landscapes and many different wildlife creatures, but the featured attraction this week at Edgewood Cottage is his “Epoxy River Art” that is frequently applied to furniture, such as beverage centers, coffee tables and end tables.
“There are many facets to my art,” said Larson. “For this show we are focused on the epoxy river tables.”
The fish may look real, swimming through the gap in this table because of the 3D effect Tim Larson uses in his ‘epoxy river art.’ Larson is a featured artist through July 10 for the Artists in Residence series at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock.
To be sure, there is no Epoxy River. The descriptive term really represents a process of bringing two pieces of wood together that leaves a lengthwise, irregular gap between the boards to create what is essentially a void between them that resembles a river. In what starts out as the void, he lays a complex mix of varnish, rocks, sand and eventually fish, too, with the different layers of epoxy. The net result is a 3D visual effect as you look down on the table or cabinet.
“All these fish are hand painted,” Larson explained of the painstaking work. “The two pieces of wood are roughly an inch thick. There will be 8-10 different layers of epoxy. It ends up producing a binocular vision, looking at 3D fish.”
There is a sensation that the fish are actually swimming in clear water through the gap in the wood.
Asked how he got into this art medium, Larson chuckled before explaining, “I am an illustrator artist, doing landscapes and wildlife art. We moved up here permanently about a year ago and had been in a store in Black Mountain and a guy had something similar, but all he had were rocks in the gap. There were no trout painted in like what I have. I said, ‘You gotta have trout here in the mountains.’ So I did some research online to see what other artists were doing, including a YouTube video on Koi fish. I wanted to make this more of a mountain art theme, so it had to be trout. It was just a matter of doing something other people were doing, but doing it better.”
This laminated and mounted painting of a wild turkey is one of 70 such illustrations in Tim Larson’s new book, ‘The Birds of Blowing Roc and the Blue Ridge Parkway.’
Larson said he didn’t study art formally, but did study a little bit in high school (South Caldwell High School in Hudson) and a very little bit in college.
“Most of my work is self-taught,” he said. “These epoxy river art pieces are essentially prototypes for what will be finished products, eventually. There are beverage centers, or what you might call a liquor cabinet, end tables and coffee tables.”
One of the pieces on display, he said, was a converted TV stand that he hoped someone would use as a fly-tying table given the epoxy river art theme on the table top.
A highlight in viewing Larson’s exhibit may be seeing his bird illustrations.
“I just finished this book, ‘The Birds of Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Parkway,’” said Larson. “It includes 70 paintings of the various bird species. This is just the first day of our week here and I have already almost sold out of the books I brought!”
Looking at the detail that goes into his bird images, it is easy to see why the book is a good seller.
Larson will be a featured exhibitor at Edgewood Cottage through Sunday, July 10.
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