Nat D. Fast was nationally known for his watercolors that feature the look of fast brushstrokes which admirers say imbues his paintings with a feeling of action. “I drew all my life, but didn’t start formal art studies until I was 25,” he told the Santa Maria Times in 2005. “My mother studied art and I used to draw with her as long as I can remember.”
But Nat Fast almost didn’t become an artist. In 1948, after serving in the Navy, he went to San Jose State to become a CPA, with a minor in art. Within a semester, he became an art major with a minor in accounting. From 1955 to 1982, he taught at Santa Maria and Righetti High Schools before joining Hancock College in Santa Maria, California, as a sabbatical replacement for George Muro.
Mr. Fast claimed he didn’t start selling his work until 1975, when he had shows at the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose and at Hancock. “Then I started to sell, mostly watercolors, but life drawing, too, in conté crayon,” he said.
A founder of the Santa Maria Arts Council, Mr. Fast has a long list of awards and honors. He was named Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission presented him with the “Leadership in the Arts Award.” He was in his late eighties when he died in October 2013.