LONG BEACH, Wash. - "Lewis and Clark shopped here," says John Merrill Gibson of his hometown of Cathlamet, "but instead of trading beads for provisions, the prized item for barter was the fishhook."

Gibson, 73, an author and artist, will sign copies of his new book "Growing Up On the Lewis and Clark Trail" from noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 16, at Sandpiper Books, 110 S. Pacific Highway, Long Beach. The event is free and refreshments will be served.

The book is a historical tour of the Lower Columbia River from Cathlamet to Long Beach and is illustrated by the author's watercolors. Gibson covers the area's sloughs and streams, logging roads and canoe trails, as well as gillnetters, Long Beach and its kites, salmon seining grounds and the local wild iris. Landmarks featured include Cape Disappointment, North Head and Beard's Hollow.

Gibson studied music, poetry, meteorology and geology at the University of Washington, the University of Mexico and Mexico City College and turned to painting only in recent years.

"Music gave me the harmony for color relationships; rhyme and verse gave me the rhythms for recurring shapes and spaces; and the sciences let me see into the forces that work above and below the earth's crust, just as a figure painter must study the muscle and bone structure of his subject," he says. "Geology and meteorology are the sinew of a landscape."

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