Hartenhoff, a self described mid-Westerner, was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Her interest in art developed at an early age with influence from her father, a commercial artist. She spent her childhood pondering the vast landscape that surrounded her. She remembers learning about great artists as a young child. One of her most poignant memories is of a piece called The Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur, that hung in the school's hallway. Her love of art is matched only by her passion for horses. It is this subject that first brought attention to her paintings and drawings. "I have had a horse since 1972 and have had my present horse, Dakota Kid, since he was a baby. My family and I enjoy showing him and jumping fences at the horse shows."
She began her formal art education at South Dakota in Brookings, where she obtained a Bachelors of Fine Art degree with an emphasis in printmaking. In her senior year she was honored with the Ritz-Caldwell-Young Art Scholarship. Her thirst for knowledge led her to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion where she worked towards her Master of Fine Art degree. Her talent was quickly noticed and she was awarded an apprenticeship at Echo Press, a fine art lithography shop. There she studied advanced lithographic techniques under the guidance of master printer David Keister. When asked about creative influences Hartenhoff cites printmaker Jerry Kruse. "He taught me the beauty of line and the importance of composition. But the most important thing he taught me was to create what I know and what I believe."
During this time she participated in several solo exhibitions where she won numerous awards. Her work can be found in both private and corporate collections including South Dakota Memorial Art Center, Nobles County Art Center in Worthington, Minnesota and Trump's Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.