In 1903, Lawton Parker joined the second generation of American Impressionists in Giverny. Like friend and colleague Frederick Frieseke, Parker began to paint the figure in various garden settings. In fact, the two were neighbors in Giverny, sharing a garden wall that often appeared in both artist's paintings. According to Dr. William H. Gerdts, it is possible that Parker explored the theme of women in gardens even earlier than Frieseke. Dr. Gerdts writes "...he tackled plein air in earnest...in his water garden at Giverny he began studying the full outdoor light on things: how foliage and dresses and naked human flesh look against the light, down the light, across the light." (W.H. Gerdts, American Impressionism, New York, 1984, p. 270)
Examples of Parker's Giverny work were well received at a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1912. A Midwesterner by birth, Parker received his early training at the Art Institute under John H. Vanderpoel. The catalogue of the 1912 exhibition stated that Parker had begun to paint out of doors in Giverny; several of the paintings exhibited reflected his developing interest in depicting figures out of doors, surrounded by beautiful gardens and and dappled, summer light. Shady Lagoon is a wonderful example of Parker's best Impressionist pictures.