David Heath is recognized as one of the most talented landscape artists of our time. Painting in a style unmistakably his own, his works of traditionally derived, contemporary realism present an association of chromatic, compositional, and atmospheric serenity recalling the aesthetic values of an earlier period. Contemporary with respect to technique, style, and vision, Heath's paintings still invite comparison with works from the past masters of 19th century American landscape painting; his work relates to that of these artists with regard to a shared concern for detail, finish, composition, color, light, and atmosphere.
Much of Heath's work is characterized by what he terms, "the solitary landscape," a quietist landscape where figures, structures, or other manmade objects are often absent or play only a minimal role in the overall composition. He feels, "that the untouched landscape best communicates a sense of timelessness and serenity to the viewer, while the presence of man...limits the scene to a specific moment in time."
Most of Heath's exhibited works are done in the studio from field observations, photographs, and plein air oil sketches; however, he occasionally exhibits plein air pieces and smaller paintings that are plein air field sketches finished in the studio. He typically uses his plein air works as an opportunity to experiment with techniques and approaches that he might not ordinarily try in the studio, finding painting out-of-doors to be, "a workshop...a great learning experience." Heath's paintings seldom are exact topographical depictions of a scene, but express his impression or perception of the scene, a sense of feeling and mood refined through memory and contemplation. These paintings are directed to the emotions and imagination of the viewer, and are works not intended to require complex intellectual analysis but, in the artist's words, "to display nature at its most beautiful and memorable and to create a moving experience for the viewer."