Penny Benjamin Peterson was born in States Center, Iowa, but grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. The warm Arizona sun coaxed her family out West when she was five. She has wonderful memories of living on the farm. Her childhood life was simple, and life on the farm seemed magical to her.

It took her a few years for the memories of green and snow to fade but she grew to become a true desert rat. Says the artist, "When the desert is in full bloom it is awesome. A lush desert sounds like an oxymoron but it does make quite a transformation. These prickly, sometimes dry-looking strange plants suddenly come alive with color." While it is still in the "slumber state," as Peterson likes to call it, "the desert is still beautiful with its subtle changes in terrain and the way the sunlight and evening sunset changes the colors of the mountains and the cacti." One needs to be quiet and pay attention to really appreciate the desert. "I am influenced by these observations and my paintings reflect this with their bold splashes of color mixed with the serene, calming, spiritual effects of introspection."